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report the case to the Center for further investigation and treatment, and transmit to it copies of all official reports and any other pertinent information in addition to taking whatever action he may deem appropriate.
SEC. 203. Any person, hospital, or institution participating in good faith in the making of a report pursuant to this title shall have immunity from liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed with respect to the making of such report. Any such participant shall have the same immunity with respect to participation in any judicial proceeding involving such report.
SEC. 204. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 306 and 307 of title 14 of the District of Columbia Code, no privilege between husband and wife or between any professional person (except lawyer and client), including physicians, ministers, counselors, hospitals, clinics, day care centers, and schools and their clients, shall constitute grounds for excluding evidence in any proceeding in the Family Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia concerning the welfare of such child, if the Family Division of the Superior Court determines that such privilege should be waived in the interest of public justice.
SEC. 205. Any person required to make a report under this title who willfully fails to make such report shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned for not longer than thirty days, or both. Violations of this title shall be prosecuted by the Corporation Counsel in the name of the District of Columbia.
SEC. 206. For the purposes of this title
(a) The term "medical personnel" includes a physician, surgeon, dentist, resident, intern, registered nurse, practical nurse, psychiatrist, psychologist, chiropractor, coroner, and medical examiner.
(b) The term "certain persons involved in child care" includes school officials, teachers, social services workers, day care center workers.
SEC. 207. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no child who in good faith is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, be considered to have been neglected within the purview of this title.
SEC. 208. (a) Section 2301 (9) of title 16 of the District of Columbia Code is amended to read as follows:
"(9) The term 'neglected child' means a child
"(A) who has been abandoned or abused by his parent, guardian, custodian, or other person acting in loco parentis;
"(B) who is without proper parental care or maintenance, subsistence, medical or surgical care, education as required by law, or other care necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, and the deprivation is not due to the lack of financial means of his parent, guardian, custodian, or other person acting in loco parentis;
"(C) whose parent, guardian, custodian, or other person acting in loco parentis is unable to discharge his responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization, or other physical or mental incapacity;
"(D) who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law; or "(E) who is in imminent danger of being without proper parental care or maintenance, and whose sibling is the subject of a petition before a court alleging that the child is neglected."
(b) Such section is amended by adding at the end thereof the following: "(23) The term 'abused child' means a child whose parent, guardian, custodian, or other person acting in loco parentis, inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury or sexual abuse or molestation, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment; or who is injured and his parent, guardian, custodian, or other person acting in loco parentis can give no satisfactory explanation for the injury."
SEC. 209. The Act of November 6, 1966 (relating to the reporting of certain physical abuses of children) (D.C. Code, sec. 2-161-2-166) is repealed.
TITLE III-AMENDMENTS TO THE JUDICIAL PROCEDURE CONCERNING CHILD CUSTODY
SEC. 301. (a) Section 2304(b) of title 16 of the District of Columbia Code is amended to read as follows:
"(b) When a child is alleged to be abused or neglected, or when termination of parental rights is sought, the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child named in the petition is entitled to be represented by counsel at all critical stages of the Division proceedings and, if financially unable to obtain adequate repre
sentation, to have counsel appointed in accordance with rules established by the Superior Court. The Division shall in every case involving an abused or neglected child which results in a judicial proceeding appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child in such proceedings. The guardian ad litem shall be given access to all reports relevant to the case and to any reports of examination of the child's parents, or other custodian pursuant to this Act. The guardian ad litem shall, in general, be charged with the representation of the child's best interests. To that end, he shall make such further investigation that he deems necessary to ascertain the facts, to interview withnesses, examine and crossexamine witnesses in both the adjudicatory and dispositional hearings, make recommendations to the court and participate further in the proceedings to the degree appropriate for adequately representing the child.
(b) Section 2322 of title 16 of the District of Columbia Code is amended by inserting at the end thereof the following:
"(g) After a dispositional order vesting legal custody of a child adjudicated neglected pursuant to section 2301 (9), or abused pursuant to section 2301 (23), in a department, agency, or institution, a hearing shall be held, after proper notice to the parents, their attorneys, and the child's attorney, at which the department, agency, or institution shall present all relevant information as to whether the parental rights should be terminated for the purposes of seeking an adoptive placement for the child. Such hearing shall be held (1) within 6 months in the case of a child under 12 months of age, (2) within 1 year in the case of a child between 1 and 6, and (3) within 2 years in the case of a child 7 or older, and semiannually thereafter. The court is considering in determining if the best interests of the child requires termination of parental rights shall consider, among other factors
"(1) the preservation of continuity of care and caretakers for the child;
"(2) the quality of the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, siblings, custodians, or other caretakers;
"(3) the child's own determination, to the extent feasible, of his own best interests in the matter; and
"(4) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
"(h) A request for the termination of parental rights may also be incorporated in a petition for abuse or neglect brought pursuant to section 2301(g) or section 2301 (23).
"(i) Where an order for permanent termination of parental rights has been entered pursuant to this section, the department, agency or institution to whom the child has been committed shall be responsible for seeking prompt adoptive placement of the child and shall report to the Division within six months of the order terminating parental rights upon its efforts to secure an adoptive placement. If adoption proceedings have not been initiated within a year of the order terminating parental rights, the department, agency, or institution to which the child was committed shall report annually on all efforts made to secure an adoptive placement for the child.".
SEC. 302. The provisions of this Act, including the amendments and the repeal of other laws made by this Act, shall be effective only for the first 12 full calendar months occurring after the date of enactment of this Act, unless extended by the Council of the District of Columbia. In the event the Council takes no action to extend the provisions of this Act. those provisions of law in effect immediately prior to the date of enactment of this Act, and repealed or amended by this Act, shall again become effective.
SECTION-BY-SECTION SYNOPSIS H.R. 15779-TO ESTABLISH AN AGENCY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Section (a). Statement of Purpose. To provide for protection of abused and neglected children by:
(1) Expanding persons required to report.
(2) Providing for coordination of services.
(3) Preserving wherever possible the existing family unit.
Section (b). Statement of Recognition.-Children's rights must be protected. Responsibility is entrusted to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia through this Act.
TITLE I-CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION
Section 101. Establishment of Center; Responsibilities of Director and Staff Subsection (a):
Independent agency established-to be called Center for the Prevention of child Abuse.
Full time Director, appointed by Mayor.
Director coordinates public and private community resources.
Supportive program for families developed and maintained.
Training and informational programs for the employees of the Center and cooperating agencies.
Informational and educational programs for the community.
Director files an annual report to the Commissioner.
Staffing of Center.
Trained personnel; familiar with community resources.
Multidisciplinary team of experts including: pediatrician, psychiatrist or psychologist, specially trained social worker, and an attorney.
Other persons may be employed on a case by case basis.
Responsibilities of pediatrician, psychiatrist and social worker team members outlined.
Establishes an Office of General Counsel for the Center.
Treatment provided to those referred by D.C. Government agencies, medical personnel and others, and to those who voluntarily request treatment. Individual rights protected.
Section 102. Confidential Central Registry
Director establishes 24 hour confidential registry of alleged child abuse and neglect cases.
Access to registry restricted.
Restrictions on transmitting data to other jurisdictions.
Section 201. Reporting of Suspected Cases
Medical personnel and professional child care personnel must report suspected
Other persons may report.
Section 202. Nature and Contents of Report; Investigating Agency
Reports made either orally or in writing, to Director or to Metropolian Police Special Unit.
All information which might be helpful to be included.
Police make initial investigation; report to Center.
Investigation includes welfare of siblings.
Section 203. Immunity from Liability
Immunity extended to persons and institutions from civil and criminal liability. Section 204. Waiver of Confidential Privilege
All privileges except attorney-client privilege may be waived.
Section 205. Penalties
$1000 fine or 30 days in prison, or both, for failure to report suspected child abuse.
Section 206. Definitions
"Medical personnel" and "certain persons involved in child care" defined. Section 207. Appplication of Title with Respect to Spiritual Healing
Healing by prayer, in itself, is not considered cause for "neglect".
Section 208. Definitions of "Neglected" and "Abused" Child.
Defines "neglected child".
Responsibility for care extended to person acting in loco parentis.
Defines "abused child"-(not presently defined by law.)
Section 209. Repealer of Present Reporting Law.
D.C. Code, sec. 2-161-2-166 is repealed.
TITLE III-AMENDMENTS TO THE JUDICIAL PROCEDURE CONCERNING CHILD CUSTODY
Section 301. Amendments to the D.C. Code.
Parent entitled to counsel.
Child shall have a guardian ad litem in every case.
Guardian ad litem's responsibilities outlined.
Provides procedures for a hearing to decide termination of parental rights.
Factors to be considered in termination proceedings.
Request for termination may be incorporated in a petition for abuse or neglect.
Agency to whom child committed has responsibility for adoptive placement; time limits specified.
Section 302. Extension of Provisions by City Council.
Act only effective for 12 months after date of enactment, unless extended by City Council of the District of Columbia.
[H.R. 15918, 93d Cong., 2d sess. by Mr. Fraser on Aug. 22, 1974]
A BILL To establish an agency for the prevention of child abuse in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) it is the purpose of this Act to provide for the protection of abused and neglected children in the District of Columbia, by requiring medical personnel and other persons involved in child care in the District of Columbia who become aware of cases of child abuse or neglect to report such cases in accordance with the provisions of the Act, thereby causing a coordinated and cooperative effort of all public and private resources in the District of Columbia to be brought to bear to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the child concerned, to prevent further abuse, and whenever possible, to preserve the existing family unit of the child.
(b) It is recognized that children have rights, both legal and moral, and that when those rights come into conflict with action taken by their parents or caretakers those rights must be protected. Responsibility for coordinating efforts to protect and maintain children's rights and welfare shall reside with the Commissioner of the District of Columbia who shall exercise such responsibility through the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, established by this Act.
TITLE I-CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION
SEC. 101. (a) There is established as an independent agency of the government of the District of Columbia a Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse (hereinafter in this Act rendered to as the "Center") which shall have as its head a full-time Director who shall be appointed by the Commissioner of the District of
Columbia (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the "Commissioner"). The Director shall administer the Center and coordinate other public and private resources available in the District of Columbia for the protection of abused or neglected children. Such resources shall include the services of the District of Columbia Department of Human Resources, the District of Columbia court system, the Metropolitan Police force, hospitals and clinics located in the District of Columbia, and individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise in the area of child care and family support programs whom the Director considers useful to the performance of his duties and responsibilities under this Act. The Director shall establsh, develop, and maintain a supportive program for families in the District of Columbia with child abuse or neglect problems who are referred to the Center by the courts or other governmental agencies, or who voluntarily request treatment or counseling so as to prevent and eliminate the causes and effects of child abuse and neglect. In addition, the Director shall coordinate efforts and when appropriate contract with other agencies, groups, or individuals, for specific services or resources so as to have available the services and resources necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Act.
(b) The Director shall establish and maintain training and informational programs relating to the prevention and elimination of child abuse and neglect for employees of the Center and for employees of any public or private agency which has entered into a contract with the Center. The Director shall establish and maintain informational and educational programs for the community in general to assist and encourage reporting, treating, and preventing child abuse and neglect.
(c) Each year the Director shall file with the Commissioner and the District of Columbia Council a report on the Center's activities during the previous year. Such report shall also include recommendations for improving the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect in the District of Columbia.
(d) (1) The Center shall be staffed by personnel trained to identify, treat, and prevent child abuse and neglect and who are familiar with the resources available in the District of Columbia which might assist in the protection of children and the prevention and elimination of the causes of child abuse and neglect.
(2) The Director shall establish, develop, and maintain as a part of the Center, at least one full-time multidisciplinary team of experts. Each team shall include (A) a pediatrician, (B) a psychiatrist or psychologist, (C) a social worker with expertise in the areas of child welfare and family counseling, and (D) an attorney. Each multidisciplinary team may include additional persons, not employees of the Center, as the Director may deem necessary, on a case by case basis, whose involvement and inclusion would be helpful for the protection of the child involved in such case. The Director may employ personnel, accept volunteers, or contract for additional services, in order to organize and maintain additional multidisciplinary teams so that the teams may efficiently and expeditiously investigate and treat the cases of child abuse or neglect brought to the attention of the Center.
(3) It shall be the primary responsibility of the pediatrician team member to ensure that proper treatment for the physical condition of an abused or neglected child is provided to such child. It shall be the primary responsibility of the psychiatrist or psychologist team member to ensure that an abused or neglected child and the members of his family are provided the psychiatric counseling necessary for the protection of the child and the elimination of the causes of abuse or neglect. It shall be the primary responsibility of the social worker team member to ensure that, working with an abused or neglected child and his family, a home environment conducive to the safe physical, mental, and emotional development of the child can be fostered.
(e) The Director shall establish and maintain an Office of General Counsel for the Center, staffed by one or more attorneys, to provide legal counsel to the multidisciplinary teams and other staff members of the Center on all matters in which the Center may become involved, and to research legal aspects of child abuse and neglect cases. Attorneys employed by the Center may not represent parents or children in any legal proceeding in which the Center may be interested or involved.
(f) In addition to persons referred by other agencies of the government of the District of Columbia, and persons referred to it by certain medical personnel and other persons, the Center shall also investigate and treat parents, family members, and children coming to the Center voluntarily for treatment or counseling in matters related to child abuse or neglect. In treating such