Committee Drops Child Abuse Changes

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee has pulled back legislation critics warned would reverse progress made in recent years in the war against child abuse.

The committee on Wednesday agreed to drop most pieces of Chairman Grant Ipsen’s legislative package in favor of putting a task force to work on the issue during the rest of this year.

The legislation would have precluded state investigation of anonymous reports of suspected child abuse, subjected people making false reports to civil and criminal sanctions, required two doctors rather than one to corroborate abuse incidents, precluded children being removed from the home without parental notification and required abuse allegations in divorce cases to be investigated within 30 days.

Ipsen maintained the legislation provided safeguards for the increasing number of adults falsely accused of abuse.

But opponents claimed that the legislation would discourage people from reporting suspected instances of abuse and that any legitimate problems with false allegations could be resolved more acceptably.

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