senate Bill S1281

2009-2010 Legislative Session

Provides that a child shall not be taken into protective custody based on parent's Munchausen syndrome by proxy without a family court hearing thereon

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 06, 2010 referred to children and families
Jan 28, 2009 referred to children and families

S1281 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Social Services Law

S1281 - Bill Texts

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BILL NUMBER: S1281

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to taking a child
into protective custody on the basis of an allegation of a parent or
guardian with Munchausen syndrome by proxy


PURPOSE :
To provide that a child shall not be taken into protective custody
based on parent's Munchausen syndrome by proxy without a family court
hearing.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
This bill would require that before a child can be taken into
protective custody on the basis of an allegation that a parent or
guardian has Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP), a hearing must be
held, with an opportunity for such parents or guardian to be heard,
allowing the parent or guardian to present evidence, including expert
testimony that they do not suffer from MSBP.

The bill would also allow the child's pediatrician or primary care
physician a specialist to rebut the allegation at the hearing.

EXISTING LAW :
New Bill.

JUSTIFICATION :
Munchausen Syndrome By Proxi (MSBP), a form of child abuse played out
in the medical setting, was originally described by English
pediatrician Roy Meadow, in 1977. By 1995, to his surprise, MSBP had
become so popular that Meadow admitted that the diagnosis had been
overused and misunderstood by some social workers and legal
professionals. After 30 years of clinical and legal experience, the
definition of MSBP remains controversial. As a result, mothers who
present the problem of their children in ways perceived as unusual or
problematic have become entangled in legal battles that should have
been resolved clinically. Loren Pankratz, PhD, an expert on the
diagnosis of MSBP published an article in the American Academy of
Psychiatric Law providing that the "medical literature on MSBP often
mentions false accusations or the possibility of false accusations,
but does not convey the prevalence of these misunderstandings or the
devastating consequences of a wrong diagnosis". That in case after
case "experts disagree about how to define and confirm MSBP."
Consequently, even though there is very little consensus on the
diagnosis of MSBP, children are removed from their family homes based
upon such diagnosis prior to a formal hearing taking place. This leads
to children being separated from their mothers and fathers, in some
cases for long periods of time, which, may be very harmful to the
child being removed. This bill would require a formal hearing prior to
removal in the case of an allegation of MSBP.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect immediately, and shall apply to any child
in protective custody on or after such effective date.
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