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Nov 3 2014

New position statement addresses obligation to report child abuse and neglect

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The Board adopted a new position statement (published below) on recognizing and reporting suspected child maltreatment at its September meeting.

Also at the September meeting, the Board reviewed and approved the following position statement with no changes:
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The complete Position Statements of the Board are available online and in pdf format at www.ncmedboard.org/position_statements.

CHILD MALTREATMENT
It is the position of the North Carolina Medical Board that child maltreatment (abuse and neglect) presents a significant risk to the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The
Board’s licensees have a legal responsibility to report as soon as practicable “cases involving recurrent illness or serious physical injury to any child under the age of 18 years where the illness or injury appears, in the physician’s professional judgment, to be the result of non-accidental trauma.” N.C.G.S. § 90-21.20(c1).* This legal and ethical obligation requires a licensee to recognize the signs, symptoms, and etiology of child maltreatment.

Licensees are also encouraged to learn how to refer children for expert medical evaluations of possible maltreatment.**
*This obligation specific to physicians is in addition to the legal requirement that any person or institution in North Carolina “who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent, as defined by G.S. 7B-101, or has died as the result of maltreatment, shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the department of social services in the county where the juvenile resides or is found.” N.C.G.S. § 7B-301(a).

**Web-based training on “Recognizing and Responding to Suspicions of Child Maltreatment” is available at www.preventchildabusenc.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.page&id=1047.

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