Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: Rhode Island

Child Abuse Reporting Statutes

Rhode Island Child Abuse Reporting Statute


Title 40. Human Services

Chapter 11. Abused and Neglected Children

  • 40-11-3. Duty to report–Deprivation of nutrition or medical treatment

(a) Any person who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that any child has been abused or neglected as defined in § 40-11-2 or has been a victim of sexual abuse by another child shall, within twenty-four (24) hours, transfer that information to the department of children, youth and families or its agent who shall cause the report to be investigated immediately. As a result of those reports and referrals, protective social services shall be made available to those children in an effort to safeguard and enhance the welfare of those children and to provide a means to prevent further abuse or neglect. The department shall establish and implement a single, statewide, toll-free telephone to operate twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week for the receipt of reports concerning child abuse and neglect, which reports shall be electronically recorded and placed in the central registry established by § 42-72-7. The electronically recorded records, properly indexed by date and other essential identifying data, shall be maintained for a minimum of three (3) years; provided, however, any person who has been reported for child abuse and/or neglect and who has been determined not to have neglected and/or abused a child, shall have his or her record expunged as to that incident three (3) years after that determination. The department shall establish rules and regulations requiring hospitals, health care centers, emergency rooms and other appropriate health facilities to report on a quarterly basis the number of cases reported by these institutions as suspected child abuse.

(b) The reporting shall include immediate notification of the department of any instance where parents of an infant have requested deprivation of nutrition that is necessary to sustain life and/or who have requested deprivation of medical or surgical intervention that is necessary to remedy or ameliorate a life threatening medical condition, if the nutrition or medical or surgical intervention is generally provided to similar nutritional, medical, or surgical conditioned infants, whether disabled or not.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a child’s parents and physician from discontinuing the use of life-support systems or nonpalliative treatment for a child who is terminally ill where, in the opinion of the child’s physician exercising competent medical judgment, the child has no reasonable chance of recovery from the terminal illness despite every appropriate medical treatment to correct the condition.

Title 40. Human Services

Chapter 11. Abused and Neglected Children

  • 40-11-11. Abrogation of privileged communications

The privileged quality of communication between husband and wife and any professional person and his or her patient or client, except that between attorney and client, is hereby abrogated in situations involving known or suspected child abuse or neglect and shall not constitute grounds for failure to report as required by this chapter, failure to cooperate with the department in its activities pursuant to this chapter, or failure to give or accept evidence in any judicial proceeding relating to child abuse or neglect. In any family court proceeding relating to child abuse or neglect, notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 37.3 of title 5, or the provisions of § 9-17-24, no privilege of confidentiality may be invoked with respect to any illness, trauma, incompetency, addiction to drugs, or alcoholism of any parent.