Are Stricter Rules Any Better? A Study of New York’s Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment

They do things differently on the East Coast, as evidenced by this act. We’re Robert and Kathey Raskin, and we were intrigued by what we found during our investigations. When accused parents get slapped with charges of child neglect or abuse in the state of New York, they face an investigation by child protective workers. This approach leads to their case heard in family court and the possibility of having their children removed from their care. You’d think, okay, that sounds about right. That’s the job of social services.

However, the process can take months of home visits, disrupting the stability of a child’s life. Their parents may be required to comply with various recommendations about and for social services. The goal – of course – is to make sure that children feel safe in their homes. The glaring problem for us is that once a case of child neglect is in the system, their parents are on the state registry for an egregiously long time, even if their case was heard and dismissed by a family court judge.

How Much is Too Much?

The Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment is easy to get on. But it’s challenging to get off. Not only that, it can restrict parents’ employment opportunities for up to 28 years. That’s not normal. Imagine being 12 years old and a case opened on your family when it was a misunderstanding. You’ll be 40 years old – long past the age of majority – and your parents may be struggling financially due to their lack of steady work.

They can’t work with people in vulnerable situations, such as jobs in daycares, as a substance abuse counselor, and as a home health aide. These are positions that are on the upswing but can’t seem to find enough good people. Imagine being told that you couldn’t continue with the career that you built because of this constraining law. That’s not fair at all. The current methods in place are something to examine with a deeper lens.

Neglect Means Different Things to Different People

If you’re suffering under this law, then you’re probably doing the math in your head. You can indeed be on the registry longer than you would a felony in the state of New York.

This short video tells how kids end up in foster care in New York.

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