Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


Summary of New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws by Subject (beginning from 1995)

Subject Categories

Child Welfare/Child Protective Services
Child Abuse/Multidisciplinary Teams (A.7858-E Destito/S.5482-E Griffo)

Seeks more efficient delivery of services to victims by improving the collaboration of local multidisciplinary teams that investigate child abuse and maltreatment. The law expands team membership, clarifies member participation, and encourages joint interviews of child victims to minimize trauma. Clarifies the types of cases that a team may investigate by replacing the current generic reference to “cases involving serious abuse of children” with language that references the Family Court Act definition of an abused child, and specifically adds cases involving sexual abuse or the death of a child.

Signed: 2008 Chapter 574

Effective: March 24, 2009

Amends: Social Services Law §422

Mandated Reporters/Alcohol and Substance Abuse Professionals (A.10664 Ortiz/S.7536 Kruger)

Expands the list of professionals required to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment to include “all persons credentialed by the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services.” Substance abuse counselors and alcoholism counselors are already mandated reporters. The new law includes more recent credentials offered by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, including, prevention professional and prevention specialist.

Signed: 2008 Chapter 366

Effective: July 21, 2008

Amends: Social Services Law §413

Child Protective Services/Criminal History Records (A.4425-A Mayersohn/S.2978-A Robach)

Provides child protective services personnel with access to the criminal history records of individuals named in a report of suspected child abuse or individuals living in the home of a child suspected of being abused or maltreated. The law authorizes access for a local child protective agency manager or a person with law enforcement background that is designated by the local social services commissioner. If a conviction record is found in the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services’ criminal history records, the new law specifies that child protective services “shall not indicate a report” solely on the basis of such conviction.

Signed: 2008 Chapter 602

Effective: September 25, 2008

Amends: Executive Law §835

Social Services Law §424(6)

Differential Response in Child Protective Services Cases (A.6610-B Paulin/S.4009-B Rath)

Allows local social services districts, with approval from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, to establish a differential response program for reported cases of child abuse or maltreatment. In addition to the traditional “investigation” option, a district can create an assessment and services track. The law requires OCFS to consult with OPDV in developing criteria for case eligibility and for local district participation.

Signed: 2007 Chapter 452

Effective: August 1, 2007

Amends: Social Services Law §§422(5-a); 427-a

Social Services Workers as Mandated Reporters(A.1693-A Tonko/S.849-A Farley)

Expands the duty of social services workers to report to the State Central Registry any case where there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or maltreated, based on personal knowledge facts, conditions or circumstances reported to them by third parties.

Signed: 2007 Chapter 513

Effective: October 15, 2007

Amends: Social Services Law §413(1)

Child Advocacy Centers (S.7644-B Meier/A.11188-A Scarborough)

Directs the NYS Office of Children and Family Services to facilitate the establishment of Child Advocacy Centers to serve child victims of sexual assault and serious physical abuse. New programs and centers that already exist will be required to maintain a standard protocol to provide appropriate services and minimize trauma to the child and the family. This protocol includes, but is not limited to, a private setting, a multidisciplinary investigative team, victim support and advocacy, a written set of inter-agency protocols, availability of specialized medical evaluation and treatment, and a comprehensive tracking system.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 517

Effective: February 12, 2007

Amends: Social Services Law §§423(6); 423-a

Executive Law §642-a(1)

Child Fatality Review Teams Expanded (S.6703-B Spano/A.10023-B Paulin)

Expands the scope of local and regional fatality review teams to include the deaths of children for whom there is an open child protective or child preventive services case. Also allows a review team to expand its review to all unexplained or unexpected deaths of children under the age of 18. Requires any autopsy or toxicology report to be released within thirty days of a child’s death. Enlarges the composition of local and regional fatality review teams, provides access to records and subpoena power, provides review team members with immunity from civil and criminal liability, maintains confidentiality of information obtained by the teams, and provides for the sharing of any annual report or fatality report released by a review team.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 485

Effective: December 14, 2006

Amends: Social Services Law §§422-b; 418; 20(5)(a)

NY County Law §677(8)

Termination of Parental Rights (S.5392-B Meier/A.11582-B Rivera)

Expands the grounds on which parental rights can be terminated. In addition to the current grounds of homicide/attempted homicide of another child of the parent, the new law adds any child for whom the defendant is/was legally responsible. The new law also includes homicide/attempted homicide of the other parent of the child, unless committed by a victim of domestic violence and the violence was a contributing factor to the crime.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 460

Effective: November 14, 2006

Amends: Social Services Law §384-b(3)(1)(i) and (3)(1)(v)

Educational Neglect (S.8183 Meier/A.11571-A Scarborough)

Requires the NYS Office of Children and Families, in conjunction with the NYS Education Department, to develop model practices and procedures for the reporting and investigation of educational neglect by local social services districts and local school districts. These model protocols must be developed and posted to the websites of both agencies by September 1, 2007. By January 1, 2008, each local social services district and local school district must submit their proposed policies and procedures to OCFS. OCFS will have sixty days to approve or disapprove.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 543

Effective: August 16, 2006

Amends: Social Services Law §34-a(8)

Child Protective Services Duties/Reporting (S.7042-A Meier/A.11854 Bradley)

Requires local child protective services (CPS) to refer reports of physical injury or sexual abuse of a child, or the death of a child, to appropriate local law enforcement. Investigations are to be conducted by an approved multi-disciplinary investigative team, or jointly with local law enforcement, where a county does not have an approved multidisciplinary team. Counties that have an approved protocol between CPS and local law enforcement on joint investigations of child abuse and maltreatment are exempt. Provides for cases where the report is made by a mandated reporter, within six months of two prior reports to the State Central Registry involving the same child, a sibling, other children in the household or the subject of the report. Requires the state central registry to transfer prior reports to local child protective services.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 494

Effective: November 14, 2006

Amends: Social Services Law §§422(2)(a); 424(5-a); 424(5-b)

Child Protective Services Qualifications/Training (S.7816-A Spano/A.11574-A Titus)

Establishes a required annual six hours of training for child protective staff, including information on the investigation of child abuse and maltreatment and current developments in the areas of legal, treatment and prevention issues. Establishes minimum qualifications for supervisors of child protective services, to include a baccalaureate degree and three years experience in a human services field. Requires all child protective supervisors to complete a course in the fundamentals of child protection, including effective investigation, case planning and management, cultural competency and effective supervisory skills. An annual in-service training program is also mandated for supervisors.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 525

Effective: July 26, 2006

Amends: Social Services Law §§421(4); 421(5)(b); 421(5)(c)

Child Protective Services Notification of Conviction (S.1626-A Lavalle/A.5058-A Mayersohn)

Requires the district attorney to notify the local child protective services agency when an individual is convicted of a crime against a child, including assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking, sex offenses, endangering the welfare of a child, sexual performance by a child, abandonment, and non-support.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 647

Effective: September 13, 2006

Amends: Criminal Procedure Law §440.65

Mandated Reporter Records (A.7225-A Scarborough/S.5805 Meir)

Enacts substantial change to permanency and adoption provisions in several areas of law. Includes a provision that requires mandated reporters whose reports initiate an investigation of child abuse or maltreatment to comply with all Child Protective Service (CPS) requests for records relating to the report.*

*The Office of Children and Family Services clarified that this refers only to information that directly pertains to the report itself and that the mandated reporter to whom the request is directed makes the determination of what information is essential. If the report is based on information disclosed by a parent not alleged to be the subject and the mandated reporter (i.e., mental health therapist or domestic violence service provider) only has additional information concerning the non-offending parent, the provision would not apply. If CPS believes that the mandated reporter has additional essential information pertaining to the report, CPS must ask the mandated reporter for the additional records and attempt to come to agreement regarding any additional records. If CPS and the mandated reporter cannot come to agreement over the relevance of the report, CPS may seek a court order.

Signed: 2005 Chapter 3

Effective: August 23, 2005

Amends: Mandated reporter provision - November 21, 2005

Most permanency/adoption provisions - December 21, 2005

Family Court Act §§115(c) (d); 249(a); 262(a)(i) and (iv); 301.2(15); 614(1)(d) and (e); 623; 625(a); 633; 712(g); 1012(j); 1012(k); 1016; 1017(1) (2); 1018; 1021; 1022(a) and (b); 1026(c); 1027(a) and (h); 1035(a) and (c); 1042; 1051(f)(i); 1055; 1055-a; 1058; 1062 - 1066; 1068; 10-A; 1112(a); 1115; 1118; 1120(a); 1121(1), (3), (5) and (7)

Social Services Law §§ 22(5)(f); 39(3) and (4); 358-a(2-a); 358-a(3)(a); (3)(b) and (3)(f); 358-a(7) and (8); 358-a(12); 378(3) and (4); 383-c(2); 383-c(3)(b); 383-c(5)(c)(ii); 383-c(5)(d)(iii)(B); 383-c(g); 383-c(6)(c); 383-c(10)(b); 384(2); 384(3)(ii); 384(5); 384(7); 84-a(1); 384-a(1-b); 384-a(2)(h)(iii)(a); 384-b(3)(a) and (3)(e); 384-b(3)(b) - 21 Misc. 3d 864 (2008); 384-b(4)(e); 384-b(7)(a); 384-b(8)(f) and 384-b(9); 409-e(1), (2) and (3); 415; 442(10)(c)(2)

Education Law §112(1) and (2)

Domestic Relations Law §12-b

Criminal Procedure Law §§1101(e); 5521(b)

Mental Hygiene Law §9.51(g)

Missing Child Response/Notification Plans (A.8312 Magnarelli/S.5470 Skelos)

Requires the Division of Criminal Justice Services to offer assistance to local governments and law enforcement agencies that are not currently participating in a missing child prompt response and notification plan (i.e., "Amber Alert") to ensure that every jurisdiction in New York State is implementing and operating such a plan.

Signed: 2005 Chapter 348

Effective: July 26, 2005

Amends: Executive Law §837-f(14)(c)

Domestic Violence/Child Protective Service Training (A.7763-A Weinstein/S.396-A Saland)

Requires all current and new child protective service workers to be trained on domestic violence issues. The training, to be developed by OPDV in conjunction with state Office of Children and Family Services, will address the dynamics of domestic violence and its connection to child abuse and neglect. Training will cover: psychological harm experienced by children, the trauma associated with foster care placement, barriers facing immigrant women, the child welfare and court systems' response to the abusing partner and remedies available to the victim.

Signed: 2002 Chapter 280

Effective: December 4, 2002

Amends: Social Services Law §17(g)

Unfounded Child Abuse Reports (A.1213-E Brodsky/S.1469-E Spano)

Provides that any legally sealed unfounded report of child abuse and maltreatment shall be expunged when the report is found to have constituted the crime of falsely reporting an incident in the second degree, or was an error by clear and convincing evidence.

Signed: 2000 Chapter 555

Effective: November 1, 2000 – Applied to reports of child abuse and maltreatment made on or after February 12, 1996

Amends: Social Services Law §422(5)

Child Fatality Review Teams (A.8455-A Green/S.5689-A Saland)

This bill brings the state into compliance with the Federal Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act amendments of 1996. Requires court-ordered child abuse investigations to be conducted by interagency, multi-disciplinary teams. Team members are required to develop written protocol for investigating cases and interviewing victims. Establishes local and regional fatality review teams, under the auspices of the state Office of Children and Family Services, to investigate the death of any child whose care has been transferred to an authorized agency or whose case has been reported to the child abuse State Central Registry. Establishes local citizen review panels to review the effectiveness of child protective investigations. Sets forth the authority of the panels and specifies information that must be reviewed and reported, including recommendations, to the legislature, the governor, the Office of Children and Family Services and local agencies.

Signed: 1999, Chapter 136

Effective: June 30, 1999

Amends: Social Services Law §§20(5)(a) and 20(5)(d); 371-b; 418; 422(4)(A)(v)(ii);422(5); 422-a(1)(d);422-b; 423(6)

NY County Law §677

Adoption and Safe Families Act (A.962-A Green/S.2346 Saland)

Conforms New York State law to the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act regarding foster care and adoption procedures, timetables, etc. Includes two provisions for domestic violence cases: 1) courts must consider the presence of domestic violence in the home when determining if the need to place a child would be eliminated by an order of protection removing the abuser from the home, and 2) requires the Office of Children and Family Services to study the extent to which domestic violence victims have their children removed as a result of the abuser's conduct.

Signed: 1999 Chapter 7

Effective: February 11, 1999

Amends: Social Services Law §§358-a(1); 358-a(2)(a); 358-a(3)(a); 358-a(3)(b) and (c); 358-a(4); 358-a(12); 378-a; 384-a(2)(c); 384-b(1); 384-b(3)(1); 384-b(4)(e); 384-b(7)(a); 384-b(8); 384-b(12); 392(1) – (6), (8), and (9); 392(5-a); 392(6-a); 409-a(10); 409-e(5)

Family Court Act §§301.2(15) and (16); 352.2(2)(c) and (d); 355.5; 712(g) and (h); 741-a; 754(2); 756(b); 756-a(b) – (e); 1012(e), (j) and (k); 1031(f); 1033-b(1); 1039-b; 1040; 1046(b); 1051(e) and (f)(ii); 1052(b)(i)(A) and (ii); 1055(b)(i) – (vi); 1055-a(3)(c); 1055-a(4); 1055-a(6)(a)

Domestic Relations Law §115-d(3-a)