Arizona Lawmakers To Consider Definition Of Child Abuse And Neglect

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Monday, February 8, 2016 - 5:05am

Arizona lawmakers are scheduled to consider a bill about child abuse and neglect Monday afternoon. The legislation would limit what the state’s child welfare agency is required to investigate. 

Current Arizona law requires the Department of Child Safety to investigate every report of child abuse and neglect that comes into the hotline. This proposal would exempt non-criminal reports of child abuse and neglect if the alleged conduct happened more than a year ago and if victim was at least 12 years old when it occurred.

That concerns Dana Wolfe Naimark of the advocacy organization Children’s Action Alliance. 

“Once you start putting exceptions into state law saying you don’t have to take this as a report, you don’t have to investigate this,” she said. “I think we’re in danger of creating so many exceptions it will be hard for the department to operate and for community members to feel confident that they are responding to children in need.” 

The agency has said it’s working to redefine the legal definition of child neglect so investigators don’t have to look into certain types of old reports.