(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 department shall create a sign, using a format that is clear, simple, and understandable to students, that contains the statewide toll-free telephone number for posting in all public and private schools in languages predominately spoken in the state, containing pertinent information relating to reporting the suspicion of child abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. This sign shall be available to the school districts electronically. 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 continuously maintain a management-information database that includes all of the information required to implement this section, including the number of cases reported by hospitals, health-care centers, emergency rooms, and other appropriate health-care facilities.
(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.
Year of enactment1979