2013 Maryland Code
FAMILY LAW
§ 5-704 - Reporting of abuse or neglect -- By health practitioner, police officer, educator, or human service worker


MD Fam L Code § 5-704 (2013) What's This?

§5-704.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including any law on privileged communications, each health practitioner, police officer, educator, or human service worker, acting in a professional capacity in this State:

(1) who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, shall notify the local department or the appropriate law enforcement agency; and

(2) if acting as a staff member of a hospital, public health agency, child care institution, juvenile detention center, school, or similar institution, shall immediately notify and give all information required by this section to the head of the institution or the designee of the head.

(b) (1) An individual who notifies the appropriate authorities under subsection (a) of this section shall make:

(i) an oral report, by telephone or direct communication, as soon as possible to the local department or appropriate law enforcement agency; and

(ii) a written report:

1. to the local department not later than 48 hours after the contact, examination, attention, or treatment that caused the individual to believe that the child had been subjected to abuse or neglect; and

2. with a copy to the local State’s Attorney.

(2) (i) An agency to which an oral report of suspected abuse or neglect is made under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall immediately notify the other agency.

(ii) This paragraph does not prohibit a local department and an appropriate law enforcement agency from agreeing to cooperative arrangements.

(c) Insofar as is reasonably possible, an individual who makes a report under this section shall include in the report the following information:

(1) the name, age, and home address of the child;

(2) the name and home address of the child’s parent or other person who is responsible for the child’s care;

(3) the whereabouts of the child;

(4) the nature and extent of the abuse or neglect of the child, including any evidence or information available to the reporter concerning possible previous instances of abuse or neglect; and

(5) any other information that would help to determine:

(i) the cause of the suspected abuse or neglect; and

(ii) the identity of any individual responsible for the abuse or neglect.

§ 5-704 - 1. Reporting of children living with or in regular presence of registered child sex offender

(a) In general. -- An individual may notify the local department or the appropriate law enforcement agency if the individual has reason to believe that a parent, guardian, or caregiver of a child allows the child to reside with or be in the regular presence of an individual, other than the child's parent or guardian, who:

(1) is registered under Title 11, Subtitle 7 of the Criminal Procedure Article based on the commission of an offense against a child; and

(2) based on additional information, poses a substantial risk of sexual abuse to the child.

(b) Form of report. --

(1) A report under subsection (a) of this section may be oral or in writing.

(2) If acting as a staff member of a hospital, public health agency, child care institution, juvenile detention center, school, or similar institution, an individual who notifies the appropriate authorities under subsection (a) of this section immediately shall notify and give all of the information required by this section to the head of the institution or the designee of the head of the institution.

(c) Contents of report. -- To the extent reasonably possible, an individual who makes a report under this section shall include in the report the following information:

(1) the name, age, and home address of the child;

(2) the name and home address of the child's parent or other person who is responsible for the child's care;

(3) the whereabouts of the child;

(4) the nature and extent of the substantial risk of sexual abuse of the child, including any evidence or information available to the reporter concerning possible previous instances of sexual abuse; and

(5) any other information that would help to determine:

(i) the cause of the substantial risk of sexual abuse; and

(ii) the identity of any individual responsible for the substantial risk of sexual abuse.

§ 5-704 - 2. Reporting of substance-exposed newborns [Effective October 1, 2013].

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) "Controlled drug" means a controlled dangerous substance included in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V under Title 5, Subtitle 4 of the Criminal Law Article.

(3) "Health care practitioner" has the meaning stated in § 1-301 of the Health Occupations Article.

(4) "Newborn" means a child under the age of 30 days who is born or who receives care in the State.

(b) When newborn is substance-exposed. -- For purposes of this section, a newborn is "substance-exposed" if:

(1) the newborn:

(i) displays a positive toxicology screen for a controlled drug as evidenced by any appropriate test after birth;

(ii) displays the effects of controlled drug use or symptoms of withdrawal resulting from prenatal controlled drug exposure as determined by medical personnel; or

(iii) displays the effects of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; or

(2) the newborn's mother had a positive toxicology screen for a controlled drug at the time of delivery.

(c) In general. -- Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, a health care practitioner involved in the delivery or care of a substance-exposed newborn shall:

(1) make an oral report to the local department as soon as possible; and

(2) make a written report to the local department not later than 48 hours after the contact, examination, attention, treatment, or testing that prompted the report.

(d) Form of report. -- In the case of a substance-exposed newborn in a hospital or birthing center, a health care practitioner shall notify and provide the information required under this section to the head of the institution or the designee of the head.

(e) When report not required. -- A health care practitioner is not required to make a report under this section if the health care practitioner:

(1) has knowledge that the head of an institution or the designee of the head or another individual at that institution has made a report regarding the substance-exposed newborn;

(2) has verified that, at the time of delivery, the mother was using a controlled substance as currently prescribed for the mother by a licensed health care practitioner; or

(3) has verified that, at the time of delivery, the presence of the controlled substance was consistent with a prescribed medical or drug treatment administered to the mother or the newborn.

(f) Contents of reports. -- To the extent known, an individual who makes a report under this section shall include in the report the following information:

(1) the name, date of birth, and home address of the newborn;

(2) the names and home addresses of the newborn's parents;

(3) the nature and extent of the effects of the prenatal alcohol or drug exposure on the newborn;

(4) the nature and extent of the impact of the prenatal alcohol or drug exposure on the mother's ability to provide proper care and attention to the newborn;

(5) the nature and extent of the risk of harm to the newborn; and

(6) any other information that would support a conclusion that the needs of the newborn require a prompt assessment of risk and safety, the development of a plan of safe care for the newborn, and referral of the family for appropriate services.

(g) Duties of local department on receipt of report -- Consultations and interviews. -- Within 48 hours after receiving the notification pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the local department shall:

(1) see the newborn in person;

(2) consult with a health care practitioner with knowledge of the newborn's condition and the effects of any prenatal alcohol or drug exposure; and

(3) attempt to interview the newborn's mother and any other individual responsible for care of the newborn.

(h) Duties of local department on receipt of report -- Assessments and plans. --

(1) Promptly after receiving a report under subsection (c) of this section, the local department shall assess the risk of harm to and the safety of the newborn to determine whether any further intervention is necessary.

(2) If the local department determines that further intervention is necessary, the local department shall:

(i) develop a plan of safe care for the newborn;

(ii) assess and refer the family for appropriate services, including alcohol or drug treatment; and

(iii) as necessary, develop a plan to monitor the safety of the newborn and the family's participation in appropriate services.

(i) No presumption of abuse or neglect. -- A report made under this section does not create a presumption that a child has been or will be abused or neglected.

(j) Regulations. -- The Secretary of Human Resources shall adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this section.


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