Detecting and Preventing Abuse, Exploitation, and Neglect of Juveniles


Detecting and Preventing Abuse, Exploitation, and Neglect of Juveniles

Why?

Article 45.056, Code of Criminal Procedure, was recently amended in regards to juvenile case managers. Section 2, Subsection f, states that the governing body of the employing governmental entity under Subsection (a) shall adopt reasonable rules for juvenile case managers that provide training in detecting and preventing abuse, exploitation, and neglect of juveniles.

What?

The following are those areas in which juvenile case manager (JCM) training is required. The JCM should know the Texas Family Code definition of abuse, exploitation and neglect of juveniles as they will have direct access to families and juveniles in their home, school, and community environments. These definitions can be found at http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/contact_us/report_abuse.asp.

As per the Family Code, all citizens of Texas are required to report the belief of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child. Any person suspecting abuse and not reporting it can be held liable for a misdemeanor or state jail felony. JCMs should have immediate knowledge of the procedure for reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation as they may find evidence of such while investigating and preparing their reports to the court.

JCMs consult with judges regarding:

  • the child’s home environment;
  • the child’s developmental, psychological, and educational status;
  • the child’s previous interaction with the justice system; and
  • any sanction that is available to the court that would be in the best interest of the child     

(See Art.45.056(g), C.C.P., as amended by S.B. 209).

JCMs are to give priority to cases brought under Section 25.093 (failure to attend school) and 25.094 (parent contributing to non-attendance) of the Education Code. Juvenile offenders are likely to live in environments where there is potential for lack of supervision or neglect which may contribute to truancy. Therefore, JCMs must understand the complexity of how these environments are directly contributing to continued offending by the juvenile and/or parent and the likelihood of current and potential abuse, neglect, or exploitation.