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Antonovich Calls for Enforcement of Child Abuse Reporting Laws

To prevent future tragedies, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has directed the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), in collaboration with the Department of Health Services, to review and increase enforcement of current mandatory child abuse/neglect reporting laws for hospitals and clinics. On October 14, 2005, DCFS reported the death of two year-old Sarah C., a child under the Department’s supervision.  The child was taken to Garfield Medical Center for a broken arm.  However, against medical advice, the child’s caretakers were allowed to take her home, resulting in the child’s life-threatening trauma injuries and death.  The State Community Care Licensing Division investigated Garfield Medical Center and found that the hospital failed to follow nurse assessment and suspected child abuse reporting protocols. Hospital staff who work with children are mandated child abuse/neglect reporters by law - therefore, the enforcement of mandated child abuse/neglect reporting is the responsibility of law enforcement agencies. The Supervisor’s motion also directs the Department of Health Services Facility Support Services Division to submit the State Community Care Licensing’s report on Garfield Medical Center’s deficiencies to the State’s Medical Board and Board of Registered Nurses.