CHAPTER 136

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 266

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 29 AND 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE, DEPENDENCY AND NEGLECT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

Section 1. Amend § 901 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (1) and inserting thereto the following:

“(1) ‘Abuse’ or ‘abused child’ means that a person:

(a) causes or inflicts sexual abuse on a child; or

(b) has care, custody or control of a child, and causes or inflicts:

a. physical injury through unjustified force as defined in § 468 of Title 11;

b. emotional abuse;

c. torture;

d. exploitation; or

e. maltreatment or mistreatment.”.

Section 2. Amend § 901 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by renumbering subsection (3) as subsection (4) and inserting a new subsection (3) to read thereto as follows:

“(3) ‘Care, custody and control’ or ‘those responsible for care custody and control’ shall mean a person or persons in a position of trust, authority, supervision or control over a child. It may include:

(a) a parent, guardian, or custodian;

(b) other members of the child’s family or household, meaning persons living together permanently or temporarily without regard to whether they are related to each other and without regard to the length of time or continuity of such residence, and it may include persons who previously lived in the household such as paramours of a member of the child’s household;

(c) any person who, regardless of whether a member of the child’s household, is defined as family or relatives in this section or as an adult individual defined in § 1009(b)(3)a of Title 10 of the Delaware Code;

(d) persons temporarily responsible for the child’s well- being or care such as a healthcare provider, aide, teacher, instructor, coach, sitter, day care or child care provider, or any other person having regular direct contact with children through affiliation with a school, church, or religious institution, health care facility, athletic or charitable organization or any other organization whether such a person is compensated or acting as a volunteer; or

(e) any person who has assumed control of or responsibility for the child.

For the purpose of investigation of child abuse, dependency or neglect, DSCYF may investigate any allegation of child abuse, dependency or neglect committed by persons identified herein, but shall only be responsible for the investigation of intrafamilial and institutional child abuse, dependency or neglect. Where DSCYF is not responsible for the investigation of such child abuse or neglect, it shall immediately refer such report to the appropriate police authorities or child protective services agencies within or without the State.”.

Section 3. Amend § 901 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (8) in its entirety and inserting thereto the following:

“(8) ‘Dependency’ or ‘Dependent child’ means that a person:

(a) is responsible for the care, custody, and/or control of the child; and

(b) does not have the ability and/or financial means to provide for the care of the child; and

a. fails to provide necessary care with regard to: food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, medical care or other care necessary for the child’s emotional, physical or mental health, or safety and general well-being; or

b. the child is living in a non related home on an extended basis without the consent and approval of the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families or any agency or court licensed or authorized to place children in a non related home; or

c. the child has been placed with a licensed agency which certifies it cannot complete a suitable adoption plan.

In making a finding of dependency under this Section, consideration may be given to dependency, neglect, or abuse history of any party.”.

Section 4. Amend § 901 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (11) in its entirety and inserting thereto the following:

“(11) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ means that a person:

(a) is responsible for the care, custody, and/or control of the child; and

(b) has the ability and financial means to provide for the care of the child; and

a. fails to provide necessary care with regard to: food, clothing, shelter, education, health, medical or other care necessary for the child’s emotional, physical, or mental health, or safety and general well-being; or

b. chronically and severely abuses alcohol or a controlled substance, is not active in treatment for such abuse, and the abuse threatens the child’s ability to receive care necessary for his or her safety and general well-being, or

c. fails to provide necessary supervision appropriate for a child when the child is unable to care for his or her own basic needs or safety, after considering such factors as the child’s age, mental ability, physical condition, the length of the caretaker’s absence, and the context of the child’s environment.

In making a finding of neglect under this Section, consideration may be given to dependency, neglect, or abuse history of any party.”.

Section 5. Amend § 901 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by inserting the following therein in alphabetical order and renumbering the entire section accordingly:

“(9) ‘DSCYF’ or ‘Department’ means the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.

(10) ‘Emotional abuse’ means threats to inflict undue physical or emotional harm, and/or chronic or recurring incidents of ridiculing, demeaning, making derogatory remarks or cursing.

(11) ‘Exploitation’ means taking advantage of a child for unlawful or unjustifiable personal or sexual gain.

(12) ‘Institutional child abuse or neglect’ is child abuse or neglect which has occurred to a child in DSCYF custody and/or placed in a facility, center or home operated, contracted or licensed by DSCYF.

(13) ‘Intrafamilial child abuse or neglect’ is any child abuse or neglect committed by:

a. a parent, guardian, or custodian;

b. other members of the child’s family or household, meaning persons living together permanently or temporarily without regard to whether they are related to each other and without regard to the length of time or continuity of such residence, and it may include persons who previously lived in the household such as paramours of a member of the child’s household;

c. any person who, regardless of whether a member of the child’s household, is defined as family or a relative in this section or as an adult individual as defined in § 1009(b)(3)a of Title 10 of the Delaware Code.

(14) ‘Mistreatment’ or ‘Maltreatment’ are behaviors that inflict unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering on a child without causing physical injury. Behaviors included will consist of actions and omissions, ones that are intentional and ones that are unintentional.

(15) ‘Necessary care’ means a type and degree of personalized attention that will tend to advance a child’s physical, mental, emotional, moral and general well-being.

(16) ‘Sexual abuse’ means any act against a child that is described as a sex offense in § 761(d) of Title 11 of the Delaware Code.”.

Section 6. Amend § 1004 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking the phrase “adequate care” and inserting the phrase “necessary care” in its place.

Section 7. Amend § 1031 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking the phrase “adequate care” in subsection (2) and inserting the phrase “necessary care” in its place.

Section 8. Amend § 1103 of Title 11 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of neglect in subsection (d) and inserting the following in its place:

“(d) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 9. Amend § 2302 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of abused child in subsection (1) and inserting thereto the following:

“(1) ‘Abuse’ or ‘abused child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 10. Amend § 2302 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of adequate care in subsection (2) and renumbering accordingly.

Section 11. Amend § 2302 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of dependent child in subsection (8) and inserting thereto the following:

“(8) ‘Dependency’ or ‘dependent child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 12. Amend § 2302 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of neglected child in subsection (13) and inserting thereto the following:

“(13) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 13. Amend § 202(f) of Title 14 of the Delaware Code by striking the phrase “adequate care” in subsection (1)b.4. and inserting the phrase “necessary care” in its place.

Section 14. Amend § 902 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of abuse in subsection (1) and inserting thereto the following:

“(1) ‘Abuse’ or ‘abused child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 15. Amend § 902 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of neglect in subsection (13) and inserting thereto the following:

“(13) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 16. Amend § 902 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of “those responsible for the care, custody and control of the child” in subsection (17) and inserting thereto the following:

“(17) ‘Those responsible for the care, custody and control of the child’ or ‘care, custody and control’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 17. Amend § 9002A of Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of abused child in subsection (1) and inserting thereto the following:

“(1) ‘Abuse’ or ‘abused child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 18. Amend § 9002A of Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of adequate care in subsection (2) and renumbering accordingly.

Section 19. Amend § 9002A of Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of dependent child in subsection (10) and inserting thereto the following:

“(10) ‘Dependency’ or ‘dependent child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 20. Amend § 9002A of Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of neglected child in subsection (13) and inserting thereto the following:

“(13) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 21. Amend § 301 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of abuse in subsection (6) and inserting thereto the following:

“(6) ‘Abuse’ or ‘abused child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 22. Amend § 301 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of dependent child in subsection (2) and inserting thereto the following:

“(2) ‘Dependency’ or ‘dependent child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 23. Amend § 301 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of neglected child in subsection (3) and inserting thereto the following:

“(3) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 24. Amend § 3602 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of abused child in subsection (1) and inserting thereto the following:

“(1) ‘Abuse’ or ‘abused child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 25. Amend § 3602 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of adequate care in subsection (2) and renumbering accordingly.

Section 26. Amend § 3602 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of dependent child in subsection (8) and inserting thereto the following:

“(8) ‘Dependency’ or ‘dependent child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Section 27. Amend § 3602 of Title 31 of the Delaware Code by striking the definition of neglected child in subsection (11) and inserting thereto the following:

“(11) ‘Neglect’ or ‘neglected child’ is as defined in § 901 of Title 10;”.

Approved July 12, 2007