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Massachusetts Law About Child Abuse and Neglect

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.119: Protection of Children

St.2008, c.176: An Act Protecting Children in the Commonwealth. Provides extensive changes to child protection laws in Massachusetts, including renaming the Department of Social Services the Department of Children and Families, and creating a powerful new Office of Child Advocate within the Governor's office.

Massachusetts Regulations

110 CMR: Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS)

Other Web Sources

Abuse and Neglect: Your Rights and DCF, Mass. Legal Help. A great overview of your rights when the department gets involved with your family. Includes "Who filed the report and can I read it?", "Do I have to talk to the social worker?", What happens after the 51A investigation is complete?", "What is a service plan?", and more.

Care and Protection Cases, Children's Law Center. A basic guide to the steps in a care and protection case, from reporting, through screening and possible removal of the child, to trial.

Child Abuse and Neglect, Mass. Department of Children and Families. Includes links to information on warning signs, reporting abuse, and what happens when the department becomes involved.

Child Protective Services: A Family's Guide, Mass. Department of Children and Families. This pamphlet explains "What to expect when DCF contacts you; How DCF can help you and your family; Your rights when DCF is involved with your family; and Where you can find support for your family."

Handbook for Parents, Legal Guardians, and Custodians in Child Requiring Assistance Cases, Mass. Trial Court, Juvenile Court Administrative Office, December 3, 2012. "This handbook will help you understand what is likely to happen in court, who the people are that may be involved, and what your rights are as a parent, legal guardian, or custodian in a Child Requiring Assistance case."

How young a child can be left home alone?, Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries.

Is it illegal in Massachusetts to leave a child alone in a car?, Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries.

Joint Advisory Regarding School District Officials' Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect, Mass. Department of Children and Families and Department of Education, 2010. "Summarizes the mandated reporting law, as amended, addresses commonly asked questions about the law and the responsibilities that it imposes on school officials, and includes links to G.L. c. 119, ยงยง 21 and 51A."

Juvenile Court Department Guidelines for Court Investigator Reports, Mass. Juvenile Court Dept. Guidelines include the conduct of GAL investigations, appropriate content for GAL reports and more.

Quick Reference on CRA (Child Requiring Assistance), Children's Law Center of Massachusetts, June 1, 2013. A handy guide for child advocates in Massachusetts.

Warning Signs for Child Abuse or Neglect, Mass. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Lists "recognizable physical and behavioral indicators of child abuse or neglect."

What You Need to Know About Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: A Guide for Mandated Reporters, Essex County District Attorney, 2005. Explains the mandated reporter law and then covers a variety of potential situations in a question and answer format.

Print Sources

Child Welfare Practice in Massachusetts, MCLE loose-leaf.

DCF Case Practice Policy and Procedure Manual, Dept. of Children and Families, 2008.