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Goodbye, Coach

June 24, 2012

Although of no help to the coach’s victims the attention that the trial generated may have a positive effect on possible future targets of pedophiles and other children in trouble. In Florida, legislators may soon pass legislation that would strengthen mandatory child dependency reporting law.

It gets a little confusing here. The coach was prosecuted and convicted on criminal offenses, including multiple felonies that had to do with assaulting children. Child abuse law is different. The federal government passed legislation that required the states to enact legislation to protect children from abuse by caretakers, which include the parents or others placed in a caretaker position. In simple terms, the children in question are dependent on the the caretaker, that is to say, in their custody and control. Besides parents or relatives, think of childcare workers in a day care setting, or a family friend who accepts the responsibility of caring for unrelated children while the parents take a vacation.

 As I understand it, coach could have been charged under the dependency statutes if his own son was abused at home. Almost always, however, if criminal charges are part of the issue, the prosecuting attorney will file in criminal court. The dependency statutes do not allow for the out and out punishment of the caretaker. They address the needs of the children and what needs to be done to ensure their health, safety, and welfare. 

In Florida, police, medical professionals, teachers, and some others are required to report possible child abuse, neglect and abandonment concerns. They are required to give their name although it is not to be revealed by the agency. The proposed legislation will take that a step farther. It will increase penalties for NOT reporting as required and it will increase the number of mandatory groups that must report.

 The new law should help identify and protect more dependent children. I recall very few times that mandatory reporters were ever called to task even though the agency identified guilty parties during their investigation and duely reported same to the authorities. Part of the problem was that the penalties were not stiff enough. If the new law passes, failure to report as required may be a felony!  

There may be a major drawback for those who will be charged to investigate the possible flood of new reports. The agencies responsible thoughout the state may need additional staff positions or overtime funding to keep up with required investigative time limits. Like firemen, investigators must roll out and investigate many cases immediately. If danger is not imminent they do have a little more time. Even so,initial contact must be made within twentyfour hours.Hopefull there will be some additional funding involved. Too often in the past, new requirements for the people who must increase their workload were ignored.

Goodbye coach, and good riddance!

From → Child Abuse

One Comment
  1. Good riddance, indeed!

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