Maryland Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect FAQs Montgomery Attorney

What is child abuse?

Child abuse refers to mental or physical injuries of a child under circumstances that may indicate that the child’s welfare is in danger of being harmed seriously. Child abuse also refers to the sexual abuse of children; sexual abuse includes a wide array of activities such as exposure or molestation.

What is child neglect?

Child neglect refers to the absence of any proper care or attention to the child, this may include leaving the child unattended under circumstances which suggest that their physical and mental welfare are in a substantial risk of being harmed.

What are some indicators for child abuse?

The physical indicators of child abuse include any unexplained bruises, behavior that suggests injury such as limping when walking, cuts and burns to the body, chipped teeth, fractures or broken bones.

The indicators of sexual abuse include difficulty in walking, knowledge of sexual behavior inappropriate for the child’s age, sexually suggestive behavior, verbalization of sexual involvement and unusual changes in personality such as fearing the company of someone the child trusted in the past.

What are some indicators for child neglect?

The indicators for child neglect include the child being clearly dirty and unkempt, unresolved medical issues, clothing inappropriate to the weather, obvious malnourishment and obvious fatigue.

Who can be subject to Maryland’s child abuse and neglect laws?

The individuals subject to these laws are the child’s parents, people with permanent or temporary custody of the child, or any household member in the child’s family.

Who can report child abuse and neglect?

According to the law in Maryland, teachers, health practitioners, police officers, social workers and all other third-party adults who interact with the child must report any suspicions they have of child abuse or neglect to the Child Protective Services.

How can one report suspected child abuse and neglect?

Adults with reason to believe that abuse has taken place already must present an oral report to the Department of Social Services, if the child is believed to be in imminent danger, the police must be informed as well. Within 48 hours of the oral report being presented, a written Form 180 must be presented to the Department of Social Services and an additional copy must be sent to the local State’s Attorney’s Office. Moreover, it is worth noting that in cases where the child’s welfare is under serious risk, presenting evidence is not required.

What happens after the report is made in Maryland?

If the Department of Social Services deems the information supplied to be sufficient, an investigation will take place. Investigations take place within 24 hours for child abuse reports and within 5 days for child neglect reports.

What does the investigation consist of?

The investigation in Maryland will involve evaluating and interviewing all members of the household in order to determine the validity of the claim. Three determinations can be reached, the first is that the claim is ruled out due to lack of sufficient evidence; the second is that the claim is unsubstantiated, which means that there is neither enough evidence to prove abuse or to disprove it; and the third is that the claim is indicated and that there is credible evidence of abuse or neglect taking place.

If you need a Maryland Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect lawyer to help you with your criminal case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland criminal defense attorneys can help you.

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