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Bill would close child abuse loophole in New York

May 13, 2022

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — More protection could be coming to help abused children. There is a bill in the New York State Senate that would expand the mandatory reporting system for child abuse.

It comes too late for Jordan Brooks, the Oswego County 17-year-old who had cerebral palsy. Investigators say he was malnourished and neglected by his parents.

In his case, Jordan’s teachers did report the abuse to Oswego County Child Protective Services, but the agency did not remove him from his home before he died last year, weighing just 55 pounds. Jordan’s mother and stepfather are facing charges in his death.

This new proposal would close a loophole in the mandatory reporting of suspected abuse. Currently, mandatory reporters like teachers and social workers are required to report observed or suspected abuse at the hands of a family member.

The new law would require mandatory reporters to report abuse by anyone including a neighbor or counselor.

“How come these sorts of abuses were left out all the years especially given all these more recent studies that have been coming out showing that this abuse may be more likely to come from outside the home rather than inside the home,” said Ryan McCall, Associate Attorney for Tully Rinckey.

If approved, the law would require any adult in a paid or volunteer position to report abuse. Any mandatory reporter who fails to report abuse can face up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

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