Anti-Harassment in Reporting Child Welfare | 2023 NYS Legislative Agenda

Under current state law, anyone may call the child maltreatment hotline, for any reason, and anonymously lodge a report of abuse or neglect. Because members of the public are not required to provide any identifying information, this results in many false and malicious reports of child maltreatment. The Anti-Harassment in Reporting Bill (also known as the Confidential Reporting Bill) would benefit children and families by ending the anonymous reporting of alleged child maltreatment and requiring all reporters to identify themselves, thereby deterring false and malicious reporting.  The bill provides that reports will continue to remain confidential, except for the investigating child protective specialists.  Reports of child abuse and neglect, and the resulting investigations, cause varied and long-lasting harms to children and their families. Reports show that the majority of calls to child abuse hotlines result in no findings of child maltreatment, and many are made for the purpose of harassment. False allegations of child abuse or neglect have a particularly detrimental impact on families of color, who have a history of overrepresentation and disparate treatment within family court and child protective service systems. Families of color are more likely to be reported to and investigated by child protective services, and have higher rates of family separation and foster care placement once involved with the child protective system. The City Bar argues this bill would improve our system for reporting and investigating child maltreatment, and would represent an important step toward reducing the disparate impact of the child welfare system on Black, brown and Indigenous families.

– New for 2023 –