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Child Abuse Laws in Kentucky

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Merit Career Development > Child Abuse Prevention Training > Child Abuse Laws in Kentucky


Child Abuse Laws in Kentucky


Definition of Child Abuse and Neglect


To better understand this issue and to view it across states, see the Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws publication (PDF - 665 KB)


Physical Abuse
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


Abused or neglected child means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his parent, guardian, or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical or emotional injury by other than accidental means
  • Creates or allows to be created a risk of physical or emotional injury to the child by other than accidental means

Physical injury means substantial physical pain or any impairment of physical condition.

Serious physical injury means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or causes serious and prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.


Neglect
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


Abused or neglected child means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his parent, guardian, or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child:

  • Engages in a pattern of conduct that renders the parent incapable of caring for the immediate and ongoing needs of the child, including but not limited to, parental incapacity due to alcohol and other drug abuse
  • Continuously or repeatedly fails or refuses to provide essential parental care and protection for the child, considering the age of the child
  • Does not provide the child with adequate care, supervision, food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care necessary for the child's well-being
  • Fails to make sufficient progress toward identified goals as set forth in the court-approved case plan to allow for the safe return of the child to the parent that results in the child remaining committed to the cabinet and remaining in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months


Sexual Abuse
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


Abused or neglected child means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his parent, guardian, or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child:

  • Commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or prostitution upon the child
  • Creates or allows to be created a risk that an act of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or prostitution will be committed upon the child

Sexual abuse includes, but is not necessarily limited to, any contacts or interactions in which the parent or guardian uses or allows, permits, or encourages the use of the child for the purposes of sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person.

Sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to, allowing, permitting, or encouraging the child to engage in prostitution, or an act of obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child.


Emotional Abuse
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


Emotional injury means an injury to the mental or psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by a substantial and observable impairment in the child's ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior with due regard to his or her age, development, culture, and environment, as testified to by a qualified mental health professional.


Abandonment
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


Abused or neglected child means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when his parent, guardian, or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child abandons the child.


Standards for Reporting
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


A report is required when the child is harmed or threatened with harm.


Persons Responsible for the Child
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


Persons responsible for the child include:

  • A parent, who is the biological or adoptive mother or father of a child
  • A person exercising custodial control and supervision, who is a person or agency that has assumed the role and responsibility of a parent or guardian for the child but does not necessarily have legal custody of the child


Exceptions
Rev. Stat. § 600.020


A parent or other person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child, legitimately practicing the person's religious beliefs, shall not be considered a negligent parent solely because of failure to provide specified medical treatment for a child for that reason alone. This exception shall not preclude a court from ordering necessary medical services for a child.


Click here to view information about the penalties for failing to report and false reporting of child abuse in Kentucky


To view child abuse laws for another state, select the state in the drop-down menu.


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NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION?

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