Augusta, GA– The government plans to crack down on child abuse with a new state law. Senate Bill 138 creates a child abuse registry known as the ‘Child Protective Services Information System.‘ The 30 page law includes several changes to the Department of Family and Children Services, mainly allowing the registry to have the names of convicted child abusers or those involved in substantiated cases investigated and reported to DFCS. The list starts with those connected to child abuse on and after July 1 of next year.
We often think of beatings, but there is a wide range of ways a child in the state of Georgia can be abused. So, lawmakers are cracking down on it.
Head Start Director Ernestine Smith told News Channel 6, “If it’s 20 degrees, sending a child to school in a sundress and flip flops is neglect and that’s a portion of child abuse.” She also said, “Not providing food for them is a child abuse characteristic. Not getting medical care for children when they have some type of illness is abusing a child.”
Smith, who is over all of the CSRA Head Starts said she is not sure if the job application will change since it just asks about a prior felony. She said it is a national search, but a person would have to have been convicted of a crime.
She added that she is pleased to know that the state is making a way for her agency to go beyond the typical background check when it comes to hiring for local Head Starts.
“It might have slipped because if it was substantiated it might not be on the criminal record. Certainly all criminal records check, if you’ve been found guilty and gone through the court system, it will be there,” she said.
While the registry may seem like the one similar to searching for sex offenders, the child abuse registry will only be accessible to a select group such as government agencies, law enforcement and the Department of Early Care and Learning, which acts as a partner to the CSRA Head Start.
“It will be another piece of information that we can use to provide employees who are good for our children and who can help us provide a safe and nurturing environment,” Smith said.
Click here to see the entire SB 138.