New Ga. Child Abuse Reporting Rules

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

- Valdosta, Ga. - June 04, 2012 -

It's about to become illegal for volunteers who work with kids to not report suspected child abuse in Georgia.

That's according to a new law starting July 1st. And Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens says it is more than a law, it's a moral obligation.

It's already illegal for people who get paid to work with children professionally to not act if they suspect abuse. But now the law extends to volunteer workers.

This applies to all kinds of programs from day care centers to Boys and Girls Clubs; anywhere that adults work with kids.

Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg talked to folks at the Children's Advocacy Center in Valdosta to see what they think about it.

"Here at the Children's Advocacy Center we have both paid and volunteer workers. Our (volunteer) interns work as closely with the children as the staff do and it puts them in a perfect position to be able to help protect the children, and to keep them safe," said Joseph Driggers, Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center.

The Children's Advocacy Center offers support to victims of child abuse. The center is in need of toys, non-perishable foods and of course financial donations to help continue serving kids in need.

House Bill 1176 is a provision of Georgia's "Criminal Justice Reform Bill". It was signed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal MAY 2nd.

The law takes effect July 1st.

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  • by Loving Mom on Jun 5, 2012 at 09:30 AM
    Who cares about the laws? FL has the same laws, yet for 7 years my son has written papers, talked to teachers and friends about abuse at his fathers house. DCF steps in at one point and removes him from his fathers house for a year, then drops the case due to the "stress it's putting on the child to show up and see his father in the courtroom"... ends up back in family court, only to have the idiot judge send him right back over there. The system fails children on a daily basis.
  • by Dean Location: Georgia on Jun 3, 2012 at 05:29 AM
    You can report child abuse everyday in the state of Georgia and the state will send out social workers to see how much more welfare, food-stamps and child-support the mother needs for letting her boyfried abuse the child. The state of Gorgia has a law that says for the purpose of paying child-support the duty of the court is to terminate the parental rights of the higher income parent. The only thing dfacs does is make sure the child was in the custody of the lower income parent everytime it is abused. When a child is finally killed in this state the Atlanta paper just runs a story about how dcfacs must have let the child fall thru the cracks.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 3, 2012 at 09:24 AM in reply to Dean
      Not necessarily so. We got no movement on any LE agency in GA when we reported child abuse possibly happening. Nothing. I don't think DFCS is worth a hill of beans. And neither are our elected officials. We even reported this to our congressman and he did nothing but buck it to the Gov's ofc who told us they had no control over DFCS because it was an outsourced agency.
      • reply
        by Dean on Jun 3, 2012 at 12:15 PM in reply to Anonymous
        To Anonymous. I finally got custody of my nephew in 2005,but only after 9 years of in and out of court with child-custody lawyers. When my nephew was abused I could have it removed under ten day nisi,s Ten days later the judge would send the child back . After 9 years of child-custody lawyers and thousands of dollars I finally hired the child a personal injury/wrongful death lawyer and was awarded custody trhee days later. Hire the lawyer to represent the child.
    • reply
      by Susan on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:15 AM in reply to Dean
      Interesting take. You are fairly accurate in your summary about what happens. However, the child welfare investigator does investigate the abuse claim and if it seems like abuse or neglect are happening, then the family will have to go to court and the judge will decide if the child is allowed to remain in the home or be placed elsewhere. Sometimes they cannot document abuse or neglect to the extent that the situation meets legal criteria. They cannot take a child away just because someone claims there is abuse going on. It has to be investigated and documented. There are people who call in child abuse when there really is not, like ex spouses, others who do not like the custodial parent or agree with some of their choices. They cannot just take away children because someone claims they are being abused. Not all abuse is clear cut or can be documented and these children do indeed fall through the cracks.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 3, 2012 at 04:13 PM in reply to Susan
        Susan - you need to go read about Sen Nancy Schaefer She and her husband were murdered the day before she was to testify against DFCS. They DO take your children away from you. Go Google it. Read about her, Sen Nancy Shaefer. Listen to her videos. It's darn scary.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 2, 2012 at 08:55 PM
    Actually the Governor of Georgia has a lot of control over the GA DFACS. It is one of the departments under his direct control. Whether or not certain aspects are outsourced is irrelevant to the requirement that VOLUNTEER workers, with ALL children, will now be required to report suspected child abuse. VOLUNTEER workers will include VBS teachers and helpers, Sunday School teachers and helpers, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders and other volunteers. It sounds like it will include all volunteers who have any contact with children. I fear that this new law will have a chilling effect on volunteer service in Georgia. Why would people want to expose themselves to possible criminal prosecution by volunteering to work with children? Already, any responsible volunteer would report suspected child abuse. I think anyone with a strong suspicion should do the morally responsible thing and report abuse, but this new law is ....not well thought out.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 3, 2012 at 09:21 AM in reply to
      Then the Gov's ofc lied to us because they said they had no control over DFCS. Because it is an outsourced agency. That's exactly what they said. We reported a child abuse case to LE in GA and they did nothing. That's why we went to the Gov's ofc. And that's what they told us: THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER DFCS.
      • reply
        by Susan on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM in reply to Anonymous
        The governor's office can ensure that the contracted services are being properly administered. The DFCS has staff with expertise who do the investigations and has protocals and time frame requirements for investigating and monitoring cases. Typically there are special investigations of DFCS performance related to any cases where the child "fell through the cracks." The Governor's office is not staffed to do a child abuse investigation as they contract with the DFCS to handle the case. If you write the governor, it will get the governor's attention and DCFS', because the governor will send your letter to them to write a response for the governor and the case will have a special focus to make sure all investigation has been properly done. Some parents are very good at covering up their improper actions and the investigator cannot prove child abuse to take it the court. They cannot take children away just because someone claims that abuse is happening. Ex spouses make this claim against the custodial parents many time to get custody, revenge, and/or get out of paying court imposed child support.
    • reply
      by Susan on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM in reply to
      A volunteer who cares enough about children to work with them for no pay would certainly not want to know they were living in a home environment where they are being abused or neglected. Thus, they would already be reporting suspected abuse/neglect, even without this law. Doesn't the law just make this mandatory?
  • by Anonymous on Jun 2, 2012 at 03:42 PM
    This doesn't mean anything. The governor of GA has no control over DFCS. (Dept of Family and Children Servics). They are an outsourced entity. All this is is lip service.
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