The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 33: Human Services


Sub-Chapter 02: Reporting Abuse Of Children

33 V.S.A. § 4912. Definitions

§ 4912. Definitions

As used in this subchapter:

(1) "Child" means an individual under the age of majority.

(2) An "abused or neglected child" means a child whose physical health, psychological growth and development or welfare is harmed or is at substantial risk of harm by the acts or omissions of his or her parent or other person responsible for the child's welfare. An "abused or neglected child" also means a child who is sexually abused or at substantial risk of sexual abuse by any person.

(3) "Harm" can occur by:

(A) Physical injury or emotional maltreatment;

(B) Failure to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care. For the purposes of this subchapter, "adequate health care" includes any medical or nonmedical remedial health care permitted or authorized under State law. Notwithstanding that a child might be found to be without proper parental care under chapter 55 of this title, a parent or other person responsible for a child's care legitimately practicing his or her religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not be considered neglectful for that reason alone; or

(C) Abandonment of the child.

(4) "Risk of harm" means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm other than by accidental means, which harm would be likely to cause physical injury, neglect, emotional maltreatment or sexual abuse.

(5) "A person responsible for a child's welfare" includes the child's parent; guardian; foster parent; any other adult residing in the child's home who serves in a parental role; an employee of a public or private residential home, institution or agency; or other person responsible for the child's welfare while in a residential, educational, or child care setting, including any staff person.

(6) "Physical injury" means death, or permanent or temporary disfigurement or impairment of any bodily organ or function by other than accidental means.

(7) "Emotional maltreatment" means a pattern of malicious behavior which results in impaired psychological growth and development.

(8) "Sexual abuse" consists of any act or acts by any person involving sexual molestation or exploitation of a child including incest, prostitution, rape, sodomy, or any lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child. Sexual abuse also includes the aiding, abetting, counseling, hiring, or procuring of a child to perform or participate in any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, depicts a sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse involving a child.

(9) "Multidisciplinary team" means a group of professionals, paraprofessionals, and other appropriate individuals, empanelled by the Commissioner under this chapter, for the purpose of assisting in the identification and review of cases of child abuse and neglect, coordinating treatment services for abused and neglected children and their families, and promoting child abuse prevention.

(10) "Substantiated report" means that the Commissioner or the Commissioner's designee has determined after investigation that a report is based upon accurate and reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the child has been abused or neglected.

(11) [Repealed.]

(12) "Member of the clergy" means a priest, rabbi, clergy member, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, accredited Christian Science practitioner, person performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body that are recognized as the duties of a priest, rabbi, clergy, nun, brother, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, or accredited Christian Science practitioner.

(13) "Redacted investigation file" means the intake report, the investigation activities summary, and case determination report that are amended in accordance with confidentiality requirements set forth in subsection 4913(d) of this title.

(14) "Child Protection Registry" means a record of all investigations that have resulted in a substantiated report on or after January 1, 1992.

(15) "Registry record" means an entry in the Child Protection Registry that consists of the name of an individual substantiated for child abuse or neglect, the date of the finding, the nature of the finding, and at least one other personal identifier, other than a name, listed in order to avoid the possibility of misidentification.

(16) "Investigation" means a response to a report of child abuse or neglect that begins with the systematic gathering of information to determine whether the abuse or neglect has occurred and, if so, the appropriate response. An investigation shall result in a formal determination as to whether the reported abuse or neglect has occurred.

(17) "Assessment" means a response to a report of child abuse or neglect that focuses on the identification of the strengths and support needs of the child and the family, and any services they may require to improve or restore their well-being and to reduce the risk of future harm. The child and family assessment does not result in a formal determination as to whether the reported abuse or neglect has occurred. (Added 1981, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 25, 1982; amended 1985, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2; 1989, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2; 1991, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2001, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. June 13, 2002; 2003, No. 43, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2003, No. 66, § 136a; 2007, No. 77, § 1, eff. June 7, 2007; 2007, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 18.)