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'Abuse' means the nonaccidental commission of any act by a caregiver upon a child under age 18 that causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury, or constitutes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth, or any sexual contact between a caregiver and a child under the care of that individual.
'Physical injury' means:
- Fracture of a bone, a subdural hematoma, burns, impairment of any organ, and any other such nontrivial injury
- Soft tissue swelling or skin bruising depending upon such factors as the child's age, circumstances under which the injury occurred, and the number and location of bruises
- Addiction to a drug at birth
- Failure to thrive
Neglect: Citation: Code of Mass. Regs. Tit. 110, § 2.00
'Neglect' means failure by a caregiver, either deliberately or through negligence or inability, to take those actions necessary to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability, and growth, or other essential care.
Sexual Abuse/Exploitation: Citation: Code of Mass. Regs. Tit. 110, § 2.00
The term 'abuse' includes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth or any sexual contact between a caregiver and a child under the care of that individual.
Citation: Code of Mass. Regs. Tit. 110, § 2.00
'Emotional injury' means an impairment to or disorder of the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by observable and substantial reduction in the child's ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior.
Abandonment: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, § 39
'Abandonment' of an infant under age 10 occurs when:
- A person leaves the child within or without any building.
- A parent or other person who has a legal duty to care for the child, having made a contract for the child's board or maintenance, absconds or fails to perform such contract, and for 4 weeks after such absconding or breach of contract, if of sufficient physical and mental ability, neglects to visit or remove the child or notify the department of his or her inability to support the child.
Standards for Reporting: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, § 51A
A report is required when there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering from harm or substantial risk of harm resulting from abuse or neglect.
Persons Responsible for the Child: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, § 51A; Code of Mass. Regs. Tit. 110, § 2.00
Responsible persons include the parent and any other person responsible for the child's care.
The term 'caretaker' [caregiver] means:
- A child's parent, stepparent, or guardian
- Any household member entrusted with the responsibility for a child's health or welfare
- Any other person entrusted with the responsibility for a child's health or welfare, whether in the child's home, a relative's home, a school setting, a daycare setting (including babysitting), a foster home, a group care facility, or any other comparable setting
The term 'caretaker' includes, but is not limited to, schoolteachers, babysitters, schoolbus drivers, camp counselors, etc.
Exceptions: Citation: Code of Mass. Regs. Tit. 110, § 2.00
It is not considered neglect when the inability to care for the child is due solely to inadequate economic resources or solely to the existence of a handicapping condition.