senate Bill S7128

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Establishes civil penalties for knowingly making a false report of suspected child abuse or mistreatment and creates procedures for determining whether such a violation has occurred

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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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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Apr 30, 2014 referred to children and families

S7128 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9436
Current Committee:
Senate Children And Families
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง422, Soc Serv L

S7128 - Bill Texts

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Establishes civil penalties for knowingly making a false report of suspected child abuse or mistreatment and creates procedures for determining whether such a violation has occurred.

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BILL NUMBER:S7128

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation
to false allegations of suspected child abuse and maltreatment

PURPOSE:

This bill establishes a civil penalty against a person who
intentionally makes a false report of an alleged occurrence of child
abuse or maltreatment.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: amends section 422 of the Social Services Law by adding a
new subdivision 15 to allow the Office of Children and Family Services
or a local child protective services to seek, and for a hearing
officer to impose, a fine, not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation
and up to $10,000 for a second and subsequent violations upon a person
who knowingly and willfully makes a false report of abuse or
maltreatment of a child, or a person who counsels another to make a
false report. In addition, this section creates a process for that
fine to be imposed.

Section 2: Effective Date.

JUSTIFICATION:

A significant portion of reports to the Statewide Central Register are
determined to be "unfounded." A major contributing factor to this is
intentional false reports to the state central registry. These false
reports are thought to often be from persons

*Who make false reports maliciously and with intent to harass,
embarrass, or harm another person;

*Who seek a personal benefit, including in some instances a financial
benefits the result of a false report;

*Who seek an advantage in a legal proceeding such as a custody,
divorce or child abuse or neglect proceeding.

In addition a number of false reports are believed to come from the
same person who makes repeated false reports. These events cause
resources to needlessly be spent investigating these allegations,
reduces the time workers can spend on legitimate reports and
unnecessarily harms people who are named in a report including the
child, children or vulnerable person who must be interviewed as part
of an investigation.

The current level of penalties is not sufficient to create deterrence
from false reporting of incidents of abuse and neglect of a child or
vulnerable person. The potential imposition of a civil penalty that
may be commenced by the office of children and families or by a local
child protective service that can be enforced through administrative
processes will create a greater deterrent and more effective
enforcement method than is now available in the Section 240.50 of the
penal law.


This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of
the Erie County Executive upon the recommendation of the county's
Commissioner of Social Services to improve the provision of child
protective services to New York's children and families.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

    S. 7128                                                  A. 9436

                      S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y

                             April 30, 2014
                               ___________

IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. KENNEDY -- read twice and ordered print-
  ed,  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and
  Families

IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. PEOPLES-STOKES --  read  once  and
  referred to the Committee on Children and Families

AN  ACT  to  amend the social services law, in relation to false allega-
  tions of suspected child abuse and maltreatment

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 422 of the social services law is amended by adding
a new subdivision 15 to read as follows:
  15.  (A)  IN  ADDITION TO CRIMINAL PENALTIES AUTHORIZED BY ARTICLE TWO
HUNDRED FORTY OF THE PENAL  LAW,  THE  OFFICE  OF  CHILDREN  AND  FAMILY
SERVICES,  OR LOCAL CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ACTING THROUGH ITS COMMIS-
SIONER, MAY SEEK A CIVIL PENALTY AGAINST  ANY  PERSON  WHO  BY  WORD  OR
ACTION  KNOWINGLY  OR  WILLFULLY MAKES A REPORT TO THE STATEWIDE CENTRAL
REGISTER OF CHILD ABUSE AND MALTREATMENT OR MAKES A REPORT TO ANY PERSON
REQUIRED TO REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE  OR  MALTREATMENT  PURSUANT  TO
SECTION  FOUR  HUNDRED THIRTEEN OF THIS TITLE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS
REQUIRED TO REPORT SUCH CASE, OF AN ALLEGED OCCURRENCE OF CHILD ABUSE OR
MALTREATMENT WHICH SAID PERSON KNEW DID NOT IN FACT OCCUR OR EXIST.
  (B) THE MAXIMUM CIVIL PENALTY SHALL BE FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS  FOR  THE
FIRST  OCCURRENCE  AND  TEN  THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT OCCUR-
RENCE. EACH FALSE REPORT CONSTITUTES A SEPARATE VIOLATION.
  (C) IF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN  AND  FAMILY  SERVICES  OR  LOCAL  CHILD
PROTECTIVE  SERVICES  ALLEGES THAT A PERSON HAS MADE A FALSE REPORT WITH
THE STATEWIDE CENTRAL REGISTER OF  CHILD  ABUSE  AND  MALTREATMENT,  THE
OFFICE OR SERVICE MUST NOTIFY SUCH PERSON THAT A HEARING WILL BE HELD TO
DETERMINE  IF  A  VIOLATION  OF  PARAGRAPH  (A)  OF THIS SUBDIVISION HAS
OCCURRED. THE PERSON SHALL BE GIVEN A FULL STATEMENT OF THE  ALLEGATIONS
AGAINST  HIM  OR HER, A NOTICE THAT A HEARING WILL BE HELD IN FRONT OF A
NEUTRAL FACT FINDER WHO SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND
FAMILY SERVICES OR THE LOCAL CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, THAT THEY HAVE A

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD14796-01-4

S. 7128                             2                            A. 9436

RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL, TO PRESENT EVIDENCE AND TO CROSS-EX-
AMINE ANY WITNESSES AGAINST THEM AND THE RIGHT TO  APPEAL  ANY  DECISION
THROUGH  A  FAIR HEARING. A FULL RECORD OF ANY PROCEEDING SHALL BE MADE.
NOTICE  OF  SUCH ALLEGATIONS AND OF THE HEARING SHALL BE SERVED UPON ANY
SUCH PERSON BY PERSONAL SERVICE, BY PROMINENTLY PLACING SUCH NOTICE UPON
THE PERSON'S DOOR AND MAILING THE NOTICE BY FIRST CLASS MAIL, OR THROUGH
CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED  TO  THE  PERSON'S  LAST  KNOWN
ADDRESS. THE OFFICE OR DISTRICT MUST ESTABLISH BY A PREPONDERANCE OF THE
EVIDENCE THAT A VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION OCCURRED.
  (D)  IN  DETERMINING  THE  AMOUNT  OF  FINE TO BE IMPOSED, IF ANY, THE
FOLLOWING FACTORS SHALL BE CONSIDERED:
  (I) THE GRAVITY OF THE VIOLATION, INCLUDING THE PROBABILITY THAT SERI-
OUS PHYSICAL OR  EMOTIONAL  HARM  TO  ANY  PERSON  WILL  RESULT  OR  HAS
RESULTED,  THE  SEVERITY OF THE ACTUAL OR POTENTIAL HARM, AND THE NATURE
OF THE FALSE ALLEGATION.
  (II) ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE FALSE REPORTER TO RETRACT THE  FALSE  REPORT
AS  AN  ELEMENT OF MITIGATION, OR, IN CONTRAST, TO ENCOURAGE AN INVESTI-
GATION ON THE BASIS OF FALSE INFORMATION.
  (III) ANY PREVIOUS FALSE REPORTS FILED BY THE SAME INDIVIDUAL.
  (E) A PERSON WHO IS DETERMINED TO HAVE FILED A FALSE REPORT  OF  ABUSE
OR  MALTREATMENT  IS  NOT ENTITLED TO CONFIDENTIALITY OTHERWISE REQUIRED
FOR ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE CENTRAL REGISTER. SUBSEQUENT TO THE
CONCLUSION OF ALL PROCEEDINGS WHERE IT IS DETERMINED THAT A FALSE REPORT
WAS FILED, THE NAME OF THE FALSE REPORTER AND THE NATURE OF   THE  FALSE
REPORT MAY BE MADE PUBLIC IN WHOLE OR IN PART. SUCH INFORMATION SHALL BE
ADMISSIBLE IN ANY CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PROCEEDING.
  (F)  ANY  PERSON MAKING A REPORT WHO IS ACTING IN GOOD FAITH IS IMMUNE
FROM ANY LIABILITY UNDER THIS SECTION AND SHALL CONTINUE TO BE  ENTITLED
TO HAVE THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF THEIR IDENTITY MAINTAINED.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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