Understanding the Law
July 10, 2009
Child Care Legislation Pt:2

We will continue this week by looking at other provisions in the legislation which intend to improve the life of the child who is neglected, abused and is in need of care. Last week we looked at the directorate which is responsible to provide certain services for the child.{{more}}

The Director

The director has some important duties to perform. Besides providing services to improve the life of the child, the director must promote the development of polices and procedures that would be consistent with the legislation. Among his or her numerous duties, the legislation requires the director to “promote, safeguard the safety, welfare and well being of the child”. The director must investigate and start the assessment process whenever a report of neglect is brought before him or her. The director could request services from other governmental department/agencies in order to provide adequately for a child who is in need of help, provided it is consistent with the discharge of the duties of that agency. The director is also responsible for implementing policies related to the adoption of children.

Mandatory reporting

It is an important part of the legislation for those persons, especially those who work with children on a regular basis to provide health care, education and child care services, to report any child abuse or neglect if there is reasonable grounds to believe that the child is neglected or abused and is in need of care and protection. The report may be made anonymously to the director or to a police office (who would report to the director). Where a worker fails to report, he or she commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months.

Persons who report are protected

Persons engaged in delivering services to children on a part time or full time basis and who have seen abused and neglected children in need of care and protection should have no fear about reporting to the director because they would be protected by the law provided that the report is made in good faith. Reporting will not be regarded as any breach of professional etiquette. Moreover, a civil action for malicious prosecution cannot be brought against the person who reports abuse to the director under section 14 of the act. The identity of the person who reports abuse would not be disclosed unless the person consents or the leave of the court conducting the matter is obtained. However, the protection of the law will not be provided for persons who knowingly give “false or misleading” information.


A report to the director of a child in need of care and protection will immediately trigger off an investigation. This investigation could also be launched when a parent makes a request to the director because the child cannot be controlled. It may also be undertaken because it is in the best interest of the child.