5 Questions with Former Child Protective Specialist

In order to integrate our actions against abuse, we must first learn about each other and our efforts.  Last week, we met our first peer, Kerry!  He has spent 13 years as a Child Protective Specialist (Child Abuse Investigator) for the Administration for Children Services (ACS) in NYC.  While at ACS, Kerry served several years in a specialized unit investigating cases involving serious injury, sex abuse and child fatalities.  

Here, he answers your 5 questions:

1) If you see suspicious activity in a public setting (i.e. a strange man luring children to play with him at a park), who should you report it to? 

Given the circumstances you describe, a strange man luring children to play with him in the park, I would contact the local police department.

2) What constitutes as excessive corporal punishment, and what are acceptable forms of discipline according to the law? 

In the state of New York, all individuals under the age of 18 are considered children.  New York State allows parents to physically discipline their children. However, I recommend other forms of discipline, such as “time outs” or no electronics, such video games, or cell phones.  Excessive Corporal punishment is defined as such when parents or caretakers use an object (belts, shoes) to spank a child and or marks and bruises are left on the child.

3) Could you describe your general duties as a Child Protective Specialist?

Child Protective workers have many different duties.  Here, I list some of the major task assigned to a Child Protective worker:

  • Conducting field visits to investigate allegations of child abuse and or neglect.

  • Interviewing children and other family members. Interviewing school staff, primary care physicians and next door neighbors.

  • Documenting all interviews in a timely manner. Remove children from the family and place them in protective custody in foster-care when appropriate. Filing petitions in Family Court, testifying in Family Court and or Criminal Court for different legal proceedings.

  • Coordinating family members, local service providers (therapist, counselors) and Child Protective staff to determine the safety of the child and develop a plan to reduce future risk of abuse and or neglect.

4) What can we do to prevent child abuse and/or help Child Protective Specialists?

One possible way to help prevent child abuse is to have Community Based Agencies provide Parenting Classes at low to no cost, particularly for young parents.

5) Could you describe a day in your life as a Child Protective Specialist?

Stay tuned for my “Day in the life” piece, to be posted tomorrow.

Image Source: Huffington Post

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