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What is the Legal Definition of Child Abuse and Neglect?

A federal law provides general definitions of child abuse and neglect and requires each state to have a Hotline reporting system. In New York State (NYS), the Child Protective Services Act of 1973 created a system to protect children through mandated reporting. Currently, the NYS Social Services Law and the Family Court Act provide the legal definitions of child abuse and neglect. Click here for more information on the state law.

The concepts and definitions on the links below will help you understand the main issues around child abuse and neglect:

Key Concepts
Working definitions of child abuse and neglect:

Click here for more information on the state law.