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Maryland Criminal Defense Abuse & Domestic Violence Facts

What You Need to Know About Allegations of Abuse in Maryland

The definition of Unsubstantiated abuse is:

A finding of unsubstantiated child abuse is appropriate when there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of indicated or ruled out child abuse. A finding of unsubstantiated may be based, but is not required to be based, on the following:

  1. Insufficient evidence of a physical or mental injury, sexual molestation, or sexual exploitation;
  2. Insufficient evidence that the individual alleged to be responsible for the child abuse was a parent, caretaker, or household or family member;
  3. The lack of a credible account by the suspected victim or a witness;
  4. Insufficient evidence that the child’s health or welfare was harmed or was at substantial risk of being harmed; or
  5. Despite reasonable efforts, an inability to complete the investigation due to factors such as:

(a) Lack of access to the child or individual alleged to be responsible for the child abuse; or
(b) Inability to obtain relevant facts regarding the alleged child abuse.

The definition of Ruled Out abuse is:

A finding of ruled out child abuse is appropriate if child abuse did not occur. A finding of ruled out may be based on credible evidence that:

  1. There was no physical or mental injury or, in the case of suspected sexual abuse, no sexual molestation or exploitation;
  2. In the case of physical abuse:

(a) The alleged abuser was not responsible for the injury for reasons including, but not limited to, one of the following:

(i) The contact with the child was accidental and unintended and under the circumstances, the injury was not foreseeable; or
(ii) The injury was a result of the child’s medical condition; or

(b) The child’s health or welfare was not harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed.

  1. The individual identified as responsible for the injury or sexual molestation or exploitation was not the child’s parent, caretaker, or household or family member; or
  2. The alleged victim was not a child at the time of the incident.

If a child, other than the parent of a victim, was responsible for causing an injury or was involved in a sexual act toward another child, the local department may consider the following factors in determining the appropriate finding:

  1. The age and developmental level of the child victim;
  2. The age and developmental level of the child perpetrator;
  3. The psychological condition of each child;
  4. The child perpetrator’s use of coercion, cruelty, or violence; and
  5. Whether the act was inappropriate for the developmental level of each child.

The definition of indicated neglect is:

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.

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.

The definition of Unsubstantiated Child Neglect is:

  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 this regulation or ruled out child neglect as described in 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.