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                                                  WHAT'S NEW

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Signs Landmark Anti-Bullying Legislation

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed landmark anti-bullying legislation in Massachusetts schools
May 4, 2010


Specifically, the new law increases efforts to educate students about bullying including regulations on student handbooks and classroom instruction; institutes new rules and expectations for reporting incidents of bullying; provides new opportunities for training for all adults in schools on how to identify, prevent and manage incidents of bullying; and enhances efforts across state and local education, health and law enforcement agencies to build more collaboration to ensure the new efforts are effective.

LEANDRA'S LAW
December 18, 2009

Leandra’s law, signed last month, which makes it a penalty to drive drunk with a child in the car,  has the State Troopers plenty busy this holiday season.

According to State Police, they’ve made 30 arrests since the law went into effect last Friday.

They just issued a notice of the arrest, the latest victim being a Canastota woman pulled over on I-90 near Syracuse on Sunday.

And they offer a reminder in the form of the law; read its text after the jump.

.BACKGROUND INFORMATION RE:AGGRAVATED DWI / WITH A CHILD

CHAPTER 496 OF THE LAWS OF 2009, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 18, 2009, AMENDS NEW YORK’S AGGRAVATED DWI STATUTE (VTL 1192 (2-A)) BY RECLASSIFYING EXISTING 2-A AS (2-A) (A) AND ADDING A NEW SECTION (B) TO PROVIDE FOR ENHANCED PENALTIES APPLICABLE TO A PERSON WHO OPERATES A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE INTOXICATED OR IMPAIRED BY DRUGS AND WHO, AT THE TIME OF THE OFFENSE, HAS A CHILD LESS THAN 16 YEARS OF AGE IN THE CAR. NEW SECTION 1192 (2-A) (B) READS AS FOLLOWS:

“NO PERSON SHALL OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE IN VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION TWO, THREE, FOUR OR FOUR-A OF THIS SECTION WHILE A CHILD WHO IS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR LESS IS A PASSENGER IN SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE”

A VIOLATION OF THIS NEW LAW IS A CLASS E FELONY.

SUBDIVISION 12 OF SECTION 1192 HAS ALSO BEEN AMENDED TO REQUIRE POLICE TO
NOTIFY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES IF THE PERSON CHARGED WITH VIOLATING 1192 (2-A) (B) IS THE CHILD’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN.

IN ADDITION TO THE AMENDMENTS THAT DIRECTLY IMPACT POLICE OPERATIONS, THE NEW LAW ALSO MANDATES THAT A PERSON CONVICTED OF 1192 (2), (2-A) OR (3) MUST HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSTALLED IN ANY VEHICLES OWNED OR OPERATED BY HIM OR HER FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS. VTL 1198 PARAGRAPH (D) HAS BEEN RECLASSIFIED AS PARAGRAPH (E) AND A NEW PARAGRAPH (D) MAKES IT A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR FOR A PERSON REQUIRED TO HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE WITHOUT SUCH DEVICE.

FINALLY, TO PROVIDE FOR ENHANCED PENALTIES IF A CHILD LESS THAN 16 IS SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED AS A RESULT OF A VIOLATION OF 1192 (2-A) (B), A NEW SUBDIVISION 6 HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE CRIMES OF VEHICULAR ASSAULT 1ST (PL SECTION 120.04), AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR ASSAULT (PL SECTION 120.04-A), VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER 1ST (PL SECTION 125.13), AND AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR HOMICIDE (PL SECTION 125.14) TO INCLUDE OPERATING WHILE INTOXICATED OR IMPAIRED BY DRUGS WITH A CHILD LESS THAN 16 YEARS OF AGE IN THE VEHICLE.

CHILD PROTECTION BILL INTRODUCED IN U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE

March 13 2008 - The Child Protection Improvements Act of 2008 was introduced by Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Arlen Specter (R-PA). The bill will make permanent a child protection pilot program that allows youth-serving organizations to run FBI background checks on prospective volunteers and employees.

ACA (American Camp Association) has been working for the past two years – along with other organizations, primarily MENTOR/The National Mentoring Partnership – to develop the content and specific text of the bill. It is because of ACA’s work and the work of its partners in Washington , D.C. – that this bill was supported by Senator Biden and introduced in Congress. The bill was also introduced the same day in the House by Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA).

ACA will be issuing a call to action to members very soon to contact legislators to ask them to support the bill in both houses of Congress. 

The American Camp Association (formerly known as the American Camping Association) is a community of camp professionals who, for nearly 100 years, have joined together to share their knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs.

THE PRESIDENT SIGNS NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE REGISTRY INTO LAW

July 27, 2006 -- Many in child abuse prevention have lobbied Washington for a National Child Abuse Registry. Today groundbreaking legislation through both the House and Senate resulted in the National Child Abuse Registry.

The national registry provides a centralized database of substantiated child abuse cases for tracking and apprehending perpetrators across state lines.

The National Registry is a provision within the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Following is an excerpt from the President’s comments during today’s signing:

“Fourth, the bill I sign today will help prevent child abuse by creating a National Child Abuse Registry, and requiring investigators to do background checks on adoptive and foster parents before they approve to take custody of a child. By giving child protective service professionals in all 50 states access to this critical information, we will improve their ability to investigate child abuse cases and help ensure that the vulnerable children are not put into situations of abuse or neglect.

This is a comprehensive piece of legislation, and it's an important bill. Our nation grieves with every family that's suffered the unbearable pain of a child who's been abducted or abused. This law makes an important step forward in this country's efforts to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

Adam Walsh Act Becomes Law

7/25/2006

On  July 25, 2006 , the House passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act. Just a week earlier the bill passed the Senate in a unanimous vote.

It will now be easier to track criminals who've harmed children in the past. Thursday the President signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006. It's named after Adam Walsh, a six-year-old abducted and murdered 25 years ago.

The act creates a national Internet database to track the whereabouts of convicted offenders by simply entering a zip code. Every sex offender on the list will have to submit to DNA testing and on the state level. Under a provision called "the Amie Zyla Act", even juvenile offenders will be tracked from now on.

The entire Child Safety Act also provides for harsh federal punishment for sexually assaulting children, including the possibility of the death penalty when a victim is murdered.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act will create a national sex offender registry, authorize grants to help local law enforcement agencies beef up registry systems, assign more FBI agents to Internet sex crimes and require DNA samples of sex offenders.

''This bill will make a uniform sex offender registry in every state and add 500 new U.S. marshals, who will be assigned to fugitive task forces.

One of the most important features of the bill is the creation of a national sex offender registry that will be available on the Internet. The legislation also calls for stricter prison sentences for offenders who fail to register and keep their information current. The offender will be assigned to one of three tiers; the worst offenders will have to check-in more frequently, and all offenders will have to register in person.

Some Highlights Of The Bill:

  • Establishes a comprehensive national system for the registration of sex offenders.
  • Establishes three tiers of sex offenders.
  • Requires all jurisdictions to enact criminal penalties for sex offenders who fail to comply with registration requirements.
  • Requires sex offenders to appear in person to verify their registration.
  • Imposes a fine and/or term of imprisonment for up to 20 years on sex offenders who knowingly fail to register.
  • Makes registration as a sex offender a mandatory condition of probation and supervised release.
  • Eliminates the statute of limitations for prosecutions of child abduction and felony sex offenses against children.
  • Directs the Attorney General to provide technical assistance to jurisdictions to help identify and locate sex offenders relocated due to a major disaster.

New York State Assembly Minority Seeks To Put Safety First In Coming
Session Leader Tedisco and Colleagues Want To Make Passage Of Civil Confinement Of Sexual Predators And Pedophiles - Job One

December 5, 2005

Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco and members of the Assembly Minority Conference today called on the Assembly Majority to make passage of civil confinement legislation the first order of business when the 2006 Legislative session begins in January.

"Civil confinement is an issue that transcends party lines - as evidenced by the support of many politicians, including several current and former members of the Assembly Majority," said Leader Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga). "Since it was first put forth, this idea has garnered widespread bipartisan support. On Friday, Assembly Majority members said they have a plan to address civil confinement early in the coming session. I hope we can stay that course and I hope their plan does not involve any more hearings."

Assembly Minority members first proposed a civil confinement bill in 1993. Since then, they have held several hearings across the state on sex crime legislation through the Assembly Minority Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Children and Women. At each of these hearings, widespread support was voiced for civil confinement legislation.

The legislation would authorize judges to hold the most dangerous sexual predators in secure mental facilities following their release from prison if, after a thorough review process and unanimous jury verdict, it is found that they still pose a threat to society. The State Senate has repeatedly passed it by significant margins, and it is already law in 16 other states. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality three times.

"Assembly Minority members have traveled the state for the past three years, and it has been clear at each of our forums that the people of New York strongly support this legislation," said Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava (R,C,WF,I-Gouverneur), Chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Children and Women. "The time for discussion has passed. The Assembly must act on civil confinement before more dangerous predators are released."

In the absence of a civil confinement law that applies specifically to sex offenders, Governor Pataki has begun to use the current Mental Hygiene law to confine certain sex offenders deemed likely to strike again after their prison terms. Legal challenges have resulted, and a Manhattan Supreme Court judge recently ruled against the Governor. He has appealed that decision. He has also pledged to sign civil confinement legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.

"It is the responsibility of government to ensure the safety of its citizens," said Assemblyman David G. McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick), Vice-Chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Children and Women. "My Assembly Minority colleagues and I unanimously agree that passage of civil confinement is our top priority for 2006. Assembly Majority members must do the right thing and allow this crucial legislation to be voted on in January."

Statistics have shown that there is an extremely high recidivism rate among sex offenders, which only serves to underscore the need for a review process and further incarceration if necessary.

"Even after finishing lengthy prison terms, the recidivism rates for rapists and other sex offenders are alarming," said Assemblyman Vincent M. Ignizio (R-South Shore, Staten Island). "Many violent sexual predators simply cannot be rehabilitated. We need legislation that would keep the worst of them from claiming any more victims and keep them away from our children."

Since the 2005 session ended in June, 241 Level 3 sex offenders have been released into communities throughout New York State. While a civil confinement law would not necessarily keep all of them off the streets, it would ensure that they would be evaluated and the most dangerous could be confined.

"By not enacting civil confinement, or even allowing a genuine floor debate and vote on the issue, my Majority colleagues in the Assembly are protecting sex offenders," said Assemblyman Matthew Mirones (R,C,I-Staten Island, Bay Ridge). "They seem to believe the presumed rights of sex offenders are more important than the safety of our children. The more lip service we get about change in Albany, the more things seem to stay the same."

"I am very disturbed by people constantly talking about the rights of these criminals," said Assemblyman Roy McDonald (R,C,I-Wilton). "I am more concerned about the rights of the residents and families living in our communities. As a parent and grandparent, I realize that this is without question every parent's nightmare. I refuse to stand by and allow these criminals to intimidate mothers, fathers, and especially children in their own neighborhoods."

If the Assembly does bring civil confinement to a vote in January, it will mark the first time the entire body has been given a chance to consider this important legislation.

             ALERT      6/30/05: Legislative Alert: Action Needed--No Caps On Kids!

H. R. 764

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 10, 2005

A BILL

To require the Attorney General to establish a Federal register of cases of child abuse or neglect.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

The Congress finds as follows:

(1) The Report and Recommendations of the Westchester County, New York, January `B' 2004 Grand Jury, entitled `Returning Abused Children to their Abusers: How Westchester County's Child Protective System Fails the Children it Most Needs to Protect', identified 3 essential principles that should guide child services programs, namely, maintaining that the best interest of the child is paramount, ensuring continuity in case supervision with all relevant parties involved and all relevant information shared, and assigning special priority to the identification of high-risk cases.

(2) Such report also observed that, because there is no direct way for the State of New York to report an individual's history of child abuse to another State, and a child may be placed at greater risk if an offender with an established history of child abuse moves to a State where his or her history is unknown, a national central register of cases of child abuse or neglect must be created.

(3) 896,000 children were determined to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2002.

(4) The rate of victimization per 1,000 children in the national population has dropped from 13.4 children in 1990 to 12.3 children in 2002.

(5) 1,400 children died due to child abuse or neglect in 2002.

(6) A 2002 Department of Health and Human Services child and family services review suggests that difficulties States experience in preventing maltreatment recurrence may be due to inadequate identification of abusers.

(7) When an individual is convicted of a crime in New York , police in California know and are able to identify the violator. Child abusers should be as easily identifiable for State and local child protective services.

(8) Many States currently maintain a child maltreatment registry that collects information about maltreated children and individuals who were found to have abused or neglected children, in order to protect children from contact with individuals who may mistreat them.

(9) Some States that maintain such registries are explicitly prohibited under State law from sharing this important data with other States.

SEC. 2. NATIONAL REGISTER OF CASES OF CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT.

(a) In General- The Attorney General shall create a national register of cases of child abuse or neglect. The information in such register shall be supplied by States, or, at the option of a State, by political subdivisions of such State.

(b) Information- The register described in subsection (a) shall collect in a central electronic database information on children reported to a State, or a political subdivision of a State, as abused or neglected.

(c) Scope of Information-

(1) IN GENERAL-

(A) TREATMENT OF REPORTS- The information to be provided to the Attorney General under this section shall relate to substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), each State, or, at the option of a State, each political subdivision of such State, shall determine whether the information to be provided to the Attorney General under this section shall also relate to reports of suspected instances of child abuse or neglect that were unsubstantiated or determined to be unfounded.

(B) EXCEPTION- If a State or political subdivision of a State has an equivalent electronic register of cases of child abuse or neglect that it maintains pursuant to a requirement or authorization under any other provision of law, the information provided to the Attorney General under this section shall be coextensive with that in such register.

(2) FORM- Information provided to the Attorney General under this section--

(A) shall be in a standardized electronic form determined by the Attorney General; and

(B) shall contain case-specific identifying information, except that, at the option of the entity supplying the information, the confidentiality of identifying information concerning an individual initiating a report or complaint regarding a suspected or known instance of child abuse or neglect may be maintained.

(d) Construction- This section shall not be construed to require a State or political subdivision of a State to modify--

(1) an equivalent register of cases of child abuse or neglect that it maintains pursuant to a requirement or authorization under any other provision of law; or

(2) any other record relating to child abuse or neglect, regardless of whether the report of abuse or neglect was substantiated, unsubstantiated, or determined to be unfounded.

(e) Dissemination- The Attorney General shall establish standards for the dissemination of information in the national register of cases of child abuse or neglect. Such standards shall preserve the confidentiality of records in order to protect the rights of the child and the child's parents or guardians while also ensuring that Federal, State, and local government entities have access to such information in order to carry out their responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect.

(f) Condition on Receipt of Funds- Compliance under this section shall be a condition precedent to receipt of funds under section 107 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5106c).

Please write to Senators and ask them to pass this bill.

OTHER PENDING LEGISLATION:

Each year, several thousand bills are introduced in Congress, although only a couple hundred will make it all the way through the legislative process and be signed into law. Among the bills affecting children are:

  • Several bills to renew the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant, including: S.6 (Santorum, R-PA); S.105 (Talent, R-MO), and H.R. 240 (Pryce, R-OH)
Action Alert: Help Abused and Neglected Children - August, 2004

Please contact your Representative and ask him or her to urge Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Chairman, and Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member, of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources to make improvements to the Child SAFE Act (H.R. 4856). To guarantee safety and services for abused and neglected children in your state, these improvements must be made before action is taken on the bill or it is reintroduced next year.

As it is drafted, the Child SAFE Act would end the federal commitment to provide support for all eligible children in foster care by capping federal funds for foster care. This cap must be removed. The bill should be changed so that it reduces foster care rolls by guaranteeing increased prevention and specialized treatment services, providing federal funds for subsidized guardianships, guaranteeing workforce improvements, and increasing accountability for children’s well-being.

Please ask your Representative to let Chairman Herger and Ranking Member Cardin know that H.R. 4856 must be amended to:

Preserve uncapped funding for federal Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. Children who need foster care must have guaranteed access to it. While it is important to avoid foster care when possible, capping the federal funding to support children in foster care is not the way to help children.

Guarantee significantly increased resources to provide a broad range of prevention and specialized treatment services. These services should include prevention, specialized substance abuse and mental health treatment, and post-permanency services to support children and help them stay with or return to their families, whether birth, adopted or kinship care families.

Expand federal support for subsidized guardianships. States should be permitted to use federal Title IV-E funds to provide subsidies for children who are in foster care with relatives who have obtained legal guardianship and are committed to caring for them permanently.

Guarantee necessary resources to enhance the capacity and quality of the child welfare workforce. Highly trained caseworkers, who have manageable caseloads and effective, supportive supervision, are critical to addressing the special needs of the children and families who come to the attention of the child welfare system. Turnover of child welfare workers is estimated to be between 30 and 40% annually.

Strengthen the accountability of the child welfare system for achieving positive outcomes for children. Agencies need to know what happens to children from the time they initially come into contact with the child welfare system until the time they are safely in a permanent home. Better data are needed. More information is also needed about how federal funds are being spent for various types of services to ensure that spending is tied to achieving positive outcomes for children.

Call your Congressional Representative at
                          202-224-3121


Care Act 1999

For every child who is hurt by a stranger, many more are victimized by their own family—the very people who should care the most about them. In many states, criminals who rape children can get probation ... IF the child comes from the rapist's own family.

In North Carolina, they fought this double standard and won! The "Close Incest Loophole" law took effect December 1, 2002.

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The website THOMAS provides information on these and all other federal bills and laws


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