Child Protection; Public Safety Officers
Allows public safety officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs to assume protective custody of child abuse victim; requires public safety officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs to report child abuse cases.
TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO CHILD ABUSE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that public safety officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs have occasion to witness child abuse on a daily basis in the course of their work in serving arrest warrants or providing security at the State’s airports. Under current law, public safety officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs are not mandated to report child abuse to the department of human services or the police, and lack authority to assume protective custody of the child. The legislature further finds that the safety and welfare of the child would be protected if public safety officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs were conferred with the same statutory authority as exists for law enforcement agencies and police officers in child abuse cases.
The purpose of this Act is to clarify that public safety officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs shall report child abuse cases and be conferred with the authority to take the child victim into protective custody.
SECTION 2. Section 350-1.1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:
1. By amending subsection (a) to read:
"(a) Notwithstanding any other state law concerning confidentiality to the contrary, the following persons who, in their professional or official capacity, have reason to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or that there exists a substantial risk that child abuse or neglect may occur in the reasonably foreseeable future, shall immediately report the matter orally to the department or to the police department:
(1) Any licensed or registered professional of the healing arts and any health-related occupation who examines, attends, treats, or provides other professional or specialized services, including but not limited to physicians, including physicians in training, psychologists, dentists, nurses, osteopathic physicians and surgeons, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, pharmacists, and other health-related professionals;
(2) Employees or officers of any public or private school;
(3) Employees or officers of any public or private agency or institution, or other individuals, providing social, medical, hospital, or mental health services, including financial assistance;
(4) Employees or officers of any law enforcement agency, including but not limited to the courts, police departments, correctional institutions, and parole or probation offices;
(5) Individual providers of child care, or employees or officers of any licensed or registered child care facility, foster home, or similar institution;
(6) Medical examiners or coroners; [
(7) Employees of any public or private agency providing recreational or sports activities[
(8) Public safety officers appointed under section 353C-4, including sheriffs and deputy sheriffs."
2. By amending subsection (c) to read:
"(c) The initial oral report shall be followed as soon as possible by a report in writing to the department. If a police department or the department of public safety is the initiating agency, a written report shall be filed with the department for cases that the police or the department of public safety take further action on or for active cases in the department under this chapter. All written reports shall contain the name and address of the child and the child's parents or other persons responsible for the child's care, if known, the child's age, the nature and extent of the child's injuries, and any other information that the reporter believes might be helpful or relevant to the investigation of the child abuse or neglect. This subsection shall not be construed to serve as a cause of action against the department or the police[
.] or department of public safety."
SECTION 3. Section 587-22, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§587-22 Protective custody by police officer or public safety officer without court order. (a) A police officer or a public safety officer appointed under section 353C-4, including a sheriff and deputy sheriff, who witnesses child abuse or neglect while in the course of duty, shall assume protective custody of the child without a court order and without the consent of the child's family regardless of whether the child's family is absent, if in the discretion of the police officer[
,] or public safety officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff the child is in such circumstance or condition that the child's continuing in the custody or care of the child's family presents a situation of imminent harm to the child.
A police officer or public safety officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff may assume protective custody of the child without a court order and without the consent of the child's family regardless of whether the child's family is absent, if in the discretion of the police officer[
:] or public safety officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff:
(1) The child has no legal custodian who is willing and able to provide a safe family home for the child; or
(2) There is evidence that the parent or legal guardian of the child has subjected the child to harm or threatened harm and that the parent or legal guardian is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court with the child.
(b) A police officer or public safety officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff who assumes protective custody of a child immediately shall complete transfer of protective custody to the department by presenting physical custody of the child to the department, unless the child is or presently will be admitted to a hospital or similar institution, in which case the police officer or public safety officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff, immediately shall complete transfer of protective custody to the department by so informing the department and receiving an acknowledgment from the hospital or similar institution that it has been informed that the child is under the temporary foster custody of the department.
(c) Upon the completion of the transfer of protective custody of a child by a police officer or public safety officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff to the department, the department shall automatically assume temporary foster custody of the child."
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.