Home > Policies > Child Welfare > 2017 Legislation to Watch: Child Welfare

SB 27- Child Abuse and Neglect- Substance Exposed Newborns- Reporting

SB 27 helps protect newborn babies that test positive for drugs or show symptoms of withdrawal from drugs when they are born. It bring Maryland into compliance with new federal requirements of CAPTA. ACY is particularly concerned that all families actually receive the services they need after a report that a newborn in that family was born with drugs in his or her system. Click here to read our testimony in support and see our suggested amendments. Unfortunately, SB 27 received an unfavorable vote in the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

SB 308/HB 632- Child Abuse – Sex Trafficking (Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017)

Currently, sex trafficking victims aren’t under the purview of what a Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) office can investigate because sex trafficking is not included in the definitions of child sexual abuse (often the trafficker is not a parent or guardian, as required by our current statutes). SB 308/HB 632 closes this gap by adding sex trafficking to our definitions of sexual abuse of a child. This is a critical step we need to take to be able to help these vulnerable youth and to bring us into compliance with federal requirements. Click here to read our testimony in support.

SB 912/HB 1219- Children in Need of Assistance- Sex Trafficking

Similar to SB 308/HB 632 described above, this legislation closes the gap by adding sex trafficking to the definition of what constitutes child sexual abuse in the Child in Need of Assistance statute. Click here to read our testimony in support.

HB 359- Child Neglect – Reporting – Commission of Crime of Violence in Presence of Minor

HB 359 expands the definition of neglect for the purposes of Child in Need of Assistance cases to include when a crime of violence is committed in the presence of a child to ensure that children witnessing violence can get services through their LDSS office. To read our testimony in support, which includes data about how children witness violence even more often than adults, click here.

SB 505/HB 642 (& SB 585)- Civil Actions – Child Sexual Abuse – Statute of Limitations and Required Findings

These bills raise the statute of limitations from seven years after the age of majority (25 years old) to 20 years after the age of majority (38 years old) to give individuals who are sexually abused as children a bit more time to file a civil lawsuit and try to get remedies for that victimization. Click here to read our testimony explaining our support of these  bills.

HB 641- Civil Actions- Child Sexual Abuse- Statute of Limitations and Limitation of Damages

HB 641 lengthens the statute of limitations from seven years after the age of majority (25 years old) to 32 years (50 years old) to give individuals who are sexually abused as children more time to file a civil lawsuit and try to get remedies for that victimization. Click here to read our testimony in support.

SB 996/HB 1263- Family Law- Child Abuse and Neglect- Definitions

SB 996/HB 1263 expands and clarifies the child abuse and neglect definitions in two ways. First, it closes a loophole in the abuse definitions by including physical or sexual abuse by a person who because of their position or occupation exercises authority over the child. Second, it clarifies that when a child experiences mental injury, that injury does not have to be intentional by the child’s caretaker for the child to receive services. These are important changes to the definitions that will help ensure the safety of Maryland’s children. Click here to read our testimony in support.