TITLE 40
Human services

CHAPTER 40-11
Abused and Neglected Children

SECTION 40-11-2


§ 40-11-2 Definitions.

When used in this chapter and unless the specific context indicates otherwise:

(1) "Abused and/or neglected child" means a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed, or threatened with harm, when his or her parent or other person responsible for his or her welfare:

(i) Inflicts, or allows to be inflicted, upon the child physical or mental injury, including excessive corporal punishment; or

(ii) Creates, or allows to be created, a substantial risk of physical or mental injury to the child, including excessive corporal punishment; or

(iii) Commits, or allows to be committed, against the child, an act of sexual abuse; or

(iv) Fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, though financially able to do so or offered financial or other reasonable means to do so; or

(v) Fails to provide the child with a minimum degree of care or proper supervision or guardianship because of his or her unwillingness or inability to do so by situations or conditions such as, but not limited to: social problems, mental incompetency, or the use of a drug, drugs, or alcohol to the extent that the parent or other person responsible for the child's welfare loses his or her ability or is unwilling to properly care for the child; or

(vi) Abandons or deserts the child; or

(vii) Sexually exploits the child in that the person allows, permits, or encourages the child to engage in prostitution as defined by the provisions in § 11-34.1-1 et seq., entitled "Commercial Sexual Activity"; or

(viii) Sexually exploits the child in that the person allows, permits, encourages, or engages in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depiction of the child in a setting that taken as a whole, suggests to the average person that the child is about to engage in, or has engaged in, any sexual act, or that depicts any such child under eighteen (18) years of age performing sodomy, oral copulation, sexual intercourse, masturbation, or bestiality; or

(ix) Commits, or allows to be committed, any sexual offense against the child as such sexual offenses are defined by the provisions of chapter 37 of title 11, entitled "Sexual Assault", as amended; or

(x) Commits, or allows to be committed, against any child an act involving sexual penetration or sexual contact if the child is under fifteen (15) years of age; or if the child is fifteen (15) years or older, and (1) force or coercion is used by the perpetrator, or (2) the perpetrator knows, or has reason to know, that the victim is a severely impaired person as defined by the provisions of § 11-5-11, or physically helpless as defined by the provisions of § 11-37-6.

(2) "Child" means a person under the age of eighteen (18).

(3) "Child protective investigator" means an employee of the department charged with responsibility for investigating complaints and/or referrals of child abuse and/or neglect and institutional child abuse and/or neglect.

(4) "Department" means department of children, youth and families.

(5) "Educational program" means any public or private school, including boarding schools, or any home-schooling program.

(6) "Institution" means any private or public hospital or other facility providing medical and/or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, and care.

(7) "Institutional child abuse and neglect" means situations of known or suspected child abuse or neglect where the person allegedly responsible for the abuse or neglect is a foster parent or the employee of a public or private residential child-care institution or agency; or any staff person providing out-of-home care or situations where the suspected abuse or neglect occurs as a result of the institution's practices, policies, or conditions.

(8) "Law-enforcement agency" means the police department in any city or town and/or the state police.

(9) "Mental injury" includes a state of substantially diminished psychological or intellectual functioning in relation to, but not limited to, such factors as: failure to thrive; ability to think or reason; control of aggressive or self-destructive impulses; acting-out or misbehavior, including incorrigibility, ungovernability, or habitual truancy; provided, however, that the injury must be clearly attributable to the unwillingness or inability of the parent or other person responsible for the child's welfare to exercise a minimum degree of care toward the child.

(10) "Person responsible for child's welfare" means the child's parent; guardian; any individual, eighteen (18) years of age or older, who resides in the home of a parent or guardian and has unsupervised access to a child; foster parent; an employee of a public or private residential home or facility; or any staff person providing out-of-home care (out-of-home care means child day care to include family day care, group day care, and center-based day care). Provided, further, that an individual, eighteen (18) years of age or older, who resides in the home of a parent or guardian and has unsupervised access to the child, shall not have the right to consent to the removal and examination of the child for the purposes of § 40-11-6.

(11) "Physician" means any licensed doctor of medicine, licensed osteopathic physician, and any physician, intern, or resident of an institution as defined in subdivision (6).

(12) "Probable cause" means facts and circumstances based upon as accurate and reliable information as possible that would justify a reasonable person to suspect that a child is abused or neglected. The facts and circumstances may include evidence of an injury, or injuries, and the statements of a person worthy of belief, even if there is no present evidence of injury.

(13) "Shaken-baby syndrome" means a form of abusive head trauma, characterized by a constellation of symptoms caused by other than accidental traumatic injury resulting from the violent shaking of and/or impact upon an infant or young child's head.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1976, ch. 91, § 2; P.L. 1979, ch. 248, § 9; P.L. 1981, ch. 139, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 257, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 371, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 147, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, § 131; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 101; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 101; P.L. 2000, ch. 69, § 2; P.L. 2003, ch. 141, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 148, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 547, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 239, § 20; P.L. 2016, ch. 352, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 373, § 1.)