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Child Abuse

Dealing with A Possible Abusive Environment

06/26/2000

Question:

As a friend and having a valid interest in this child, should I make a report? This child is still a ward of the court for the mothers abuse and neglect involving alcohol. She is to have her daughter returned to a full time status with no court ordered supervision. Knowing for a fact that the mother is engaged in an illegal activity,prostitution, for income, prompts me to believe I should react. For the obvious health risks to both and the possibility of the mother being incarcerated. This is beautiful child who has been staying with her grandmother while the alcohol abuse was being taken care of. As soon as there was a handle on the alcohol, the prostitution came into play. What in God`s name should I do.

Answer:

It is doubtful that your information will affect the decision to return this child as there is no proof that the child will be injured as a result of her mother`s actions. Generally something must occur before the Child Protection Agency can file charges. However, I do believe you should notify the local agency who has jurisdiction as laws and programs vary from state to state and your location may want to reevaluate the home before return. I assume when you say she is a ward of the court that the local child protection service is involved and would be making recommendations to the court. Good luck.

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati