Trivedi in The Sun: Abuse bill would criminalize professionals

Shanta Trivedi photo

Bronfein Family Law Clinic Fellow Shanta Trivedi

Bronfein Family Law Clinic Fellow Shanta Trivedi contributed an op-ed to today’s Baltimore Sun that advocates against a proposed state bill to criminally penalize “mandatory reporters” who fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Bills in the Maryland House and Senate propose criminal penalties for certain professionals – including teachers, counselors, social workers and nurses – and would build on a 2016 law that can result in professionals’ losing their license for failure to report suspected abuse or neglect of children.

Read “Abuse reporting bills would criminalize teachers” (March 12, 2018).

Even Del. Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery Co.), who sponsored the 2016 “loss of license” bill, believes the proposed law goes too far and could lead to “fear-induced” reports, Trivedi writes.

Moreover, Trivedi says, an increase in such reports would stress Maryland’s already overburdened child welfare system:

“According to the Child Welfare League of America, Maryland had more than 50,000 total referrals for child abuse and neglect in 2014 — and less than half of these were referred for investigation because they lacked the necessary factual basis. Thus, Maryland already suffers from an over-reporting problem, not an under-reporting one. This law, if passed, would make the problem worse, not better.”

Learn about the Bronfein Family Law Clinic and Professor Trivedi.

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