While there may be some variance in steps that are first taken to determine if a child is being abused, there are general similarities. To begin with there is a Child Protection Investigation. A call is first screened by trained professionals, who determine if, in fact, there is a case of child abuse. Here are the steps then taken,
1. The report commences with the report of an alleged child victim under 18.
2. The alleged perpetrator of the abuse is a parent or caretaker.
3. There must be an allegation that the condition of the child presents a "substantial risk of harm to his/her health or welfare."
As part of the law, physicians and educators are required to alert authorities whenever there is a case of suspected child abuse. Once the abuse is established, according to the state's Family Court Act, certain procedures follow.
1. The child is removed from the environment in which the abuse has occurred by a police officer or a "duly authorized agent" with a written permission form signed by the parent or person legally responsible for the child.
2. If the child is removed and not returned within an established time (e.g.3 days in New York), procedures for a protective motion are begun in Family Court.
3. There, then, is a filing of a petition stating the evidence of abuse of neglect of the child under 18 years of age.
4. After this, a written summons is issued.
5. A preliminary hearing is held to decide if the child needs to be placed somewhere other than the home for his/her protection before the case is heard. When the child is in imminent danger, there is a provision in the state laws that allows for the child to be temporarily removed without the preliminary hearing.
6. The parent or the responsible person must report to the court and complete certain papers required by law.
7. If the child is removed from the home, a copy of the notice is served on the person responsible.