Child abuse is the physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse of a child. Child neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, education, health care, or supervision to prevent the child from being harmed. Every state, including Maine, prosecutes these behaviors and can remove a child from your home for abuse or neglect in order to protect the child.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
Maine, like the other states, requires certain people who come into contact with kids to report suspected or observed child abuse or neglect. Those individuals are mandated reporters. Some states, like Texas, require everyone to report child abuse. If you are, for example, a medical professional or school employee in Maine, then your employer has probably already trained you about mandatory reporting.
Maine Child Abuse and Neglect Laws
The following table briefly explains the main child abuse laws in Maine.
||Maine Code Revised Title 22, Chapter 1071: Child & Family Services and Child Protection Act
|What is Child Abuse?
||Child abuse or neglect is a threat to a child's health or welfare by physical, mental, or emotional injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs, or lack of protection from these.
|Possible Crimes & Penalties
||A person who abuses a child could be charged with domestic violence assault or reckless conduct, sexual abuse, homicide, or other crimes depending on the circumstances.
The penalties vary, but a defendant could be looking at probation or years in prison for his or her actions.
|Mandatory Reporting Required By
||Individuals in the following occupations must report child abuse:
- Medical or osteopathic physicians, EMS workers, medical examiners, dentists, chiropractors, and nurses
- Psychologists and mental health professionals
- Licensing board chairs
- Teachers, guidance counselors, school bus drivers, and child care workers
- Summer camp administrators and counselors
- Social workers, sexual assault and domestic violence advocates, guardian ad litems, and clergy
- Cops, firefighters, code enforcement workers, and animal welfare officers
- Commercial film processors
Anyone else can report child abuse.
|Basis of Report of Abuse or Neglect
||The person must know or have reasonable cause to suspect a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.
|How to Report
||Call the Maine Child and Family Services at 1-800-452-1999 to report suspected child abuse.
|Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting
||Failing to report child abuse when you’re a mandated reporter is a civil violation with a fine of not more than $500.
Getting Legal Help
If you’ve been arrested for a child abuse related crime, it’s time to hire a criminal defense lawyer or ask for a public defender. For other non-criminal family court child abuse or neglect cases, you should speak to an experienced family law attorney in Maine.
Note: State laws change frequently. Please contact a lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these child abuse laws.
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