Bill S4315A-2015

Directs the commissioner of children and family services to conduct a study about child abuse and/or neglect cases leading to death where such child had been the subject of a prior open investigation for maltreat

Directs the commissioner of children and family services to conduct a study about child abuse and/or neglect cases leading to death where such child had been the subject of a prior open investigation for maltreatment.

Details

Actions

  • May 12, 2015: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • Apr 27, 2015: PRINT NUMBER 4315A
  • Apr 27, 2015: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • Mar 12, 2015: REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Children and Families - May 11, 2015
Ayes (6): Felder, Bonacic, Serino, Young, Montgomery, Serrano
Ayes W/R (1): Savino

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4315A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to direct the commissioner of children and family services to conduct a study pertaining to child abuse and neglect fatalities that occur subsequent to a prior open investigation

PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is study the incidences in New York State in which child abuse and neglect resulted in a child's death, explain any commonalities among such incidences, and proffer policy recommendations to reduce such incidences in the future.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 directs the commissioner of the office of children and family services, in conjunction with the department of health, to conduct a study detailing the number of incidences in New York State in which child abuse and neglect resulted in a child's death were such child had been the subject of a prior open investigation by the office of children and family services for maltreatment.

Section 2 provides that the commissioner shall deliver a copy of the findings and any policy recommendations deemed necessary to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, and the speaker of the assembly.

Section 3 is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Fatalities among children who are the subject of child protective service investigations are reaching alarming levels. According to a 2014 investigation conducted by the Associated Press (AP), 786 children, between 2008 and 2013, died in the United States while some form of child protective service assistance or investigation was rendered. All fifty states and the District of Columbia were surveyed, and the AP revealed that throughout the country the reporting of child deaths associated with maltreatment is considerably lacking. Most of these children are under the age of four and lost their lives even as child protective agencies obtained reliable information indicating their dangerous circumstances. Due to the dearth of complete information as compiled by the states, the AP report is considered the most comprehensive data publicly available related to the deaths of children already being overseen by child protective services workers. Many cases revealed that states could not determine the inception of an investigation and whether the child's death was the result of a reported fatality or rather the child's death occurred while the investigation was ongoing. In other instances, states did not have data for the entire six year span of the study.

In New York, at least two toddlers' deaths since December are being examined as having prior open investigations by the office of children and family services for maltreatment at the time of their passing Mason DeCosmo of Milton, New York, was two years old when he died of a head and internal injuries late last year. Authorities believe the injuries may be attributed to his mother's boyfriend, who has been indicted for Mason's second-degree murder. Mason's mother has also been charged for failing to protect the child from horrific injury. At the time of his killing, child protective services had closed their

investigation of child abuse sustained by Mason and his infant brother. The Poughkeepsie Journal reported that officials at the Duchess County Child Protective Services Unit determined that the abuse report was unfounded.

Most recently, a one-year-old Washington County girl died from injuries she withstood from inside her Kingsbury home. Investigations related to the death of Kayleigh Mae Cassell are still ongoing, however early reports indicate that several calls were made to Washington County Child Protective Services on her behalf prior to her death. Kayleigh Mae's family members claim that all of the calls, protective services reports, and police reports relating to Kayleigh Mae and her siblings' alleged abuse are on file, yet no agency intervened. Since her passing, Kayleigh Mae's mother's boyfriend has been arrested and charged with criminal contempt as the sheriff's office investigates her death.

New York must stand apart in uncovering this penumbra. The lack of comprehensive data here, and across the country, has made it nearly impossible to hold accountable those endowed with the responsibility to keep children safe. The AP investigation revealed that no one can report with any accuracy the actual number of child fatalities resulting from abuse or neglect each year. The federal government estimates an average of 1,650 child deaths annually in recent years, but the AP believes the actual number is twice as high. This legislation directs the commissioner of children and family services, in conjunction with the department of health, to conduct a study pertaining to child abuse and neglect fatalities that occur subsequent to a prior open investigation. By compiling this data in New York, we can survey the responsiveness of child protective service units and determine how to better manage and ameliorate the agencies entrusted with protecting for our state's most vulnerable citizens.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4315--A 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 12, 2015 ___________
Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to direct the commissioner of children and family services to conduct a study pertaining to child abuse and neglect fatalities that occur subsequent to a prior open investigation THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The commissioner of the office of children and family services, in conjunction with the department of health, shall conduct a study detailing the number of incidences in New York state in which child abuse and neglect resulted in a child's death where such child had been the subject of a prior open investigation by the office of children and family services for maltreatment. Such study shall explain any commonalities amongst such incidences and proffer policy recommendations to reduce such incidences in the future. S 2. Within one year of the effective date of this act, the commis- sioner of children and family services shall deliver a copy of the find- ings of the study conducted pursuant to section one of this act and any policy recommendations he or she deems to be necessary to the governor, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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