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07.02.07.13

.13 Disposition of Investigation of Suspected Child Neglect.

A. Indicated Child Neglect.

(1) Neglect—Other than Mental Injury. Except as provided in §A(2) of this regulation, a finding of indicated child neglect is appropriate when there is credible evidence, which has not been satisfactorily refuted, that the following four elements are present:

(a) A current or prior failure to provide proper care and attention;

(b) The alleged victim was a child at the time of the failure to provide proper care and attention;

(c) The failure to provide proper care and attention was by the child's parent or caretaker; and

(d) The nature, extent, or cause of the failure to provide proper care and attention indicate that the child's health or welfare was harmed or was at substantial risk of harm.

(2) Neglect—Mental Injury. A finding of indicated child neglect with mental injury is appropriate if there is credible evidence, which has not been satisfactorily refuted, that the following four elements are present:

(a) A current or prior mental injury caused by a failure to provide proper care and attention and characterized by an observable, identifiable, substantial impairment to the child's mental or psychological ability to function, which may be shown by the need for specific psychiatric, psychological, or social work intervention;

(b) The failure to provide proper care and attention to the child was by a parent or caretaker;

(c) The alleged victim was a child at the time of the failure to provide proper care and attention; and

(d) The nature and extent of the failure to provide proper care and attention indicate that the child's health or welfare was harmed or was at substantial risk of harm.

B. Unsubstantiated Child Neglect.

(1) A finding of unsubstantiated child neglect is appropriate if there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of indicated child neglect as described in §A of this regulation or ruled out child neglect as described in §C of this regulation.

(2) A finding of unsubstantiated child neglect may, but need not, be based on the following:

(a) Insufficient evidence that the individual alleged to be responsible for the child neglect was a parent or caretaker;

(b) Insufficient evidence of a failure to provide proper care and attention;

(c) Lack of a credible account by the suspected victim or a witness;

(d) Insufficient evidence that the child's health or welfare was harmed or was at substantial risk of being harmed; or

(e) An inability to complete the investigation due to such factors as not having access to the child or the individual alleged to be responsible for the child abuse or other relevant facts regarding the alleged child neglect.

C. Ruled Out Child Neglect. A finding of ruled out child neglect is appropriate when child neglect did not occur. A finding of ruled out may be based on credible evidence that:

(1) There was no failure to provide proper care and attention;

(2) The child's health or welfare was not harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed;

(3) The individual alleged to be responsible for the child neglect was not a parent or a caretaker; or

(4) The alleged victim was not a child at the time of the failure to provide proper care and attention.

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