Children’s Health and Wellness Floor Remarks
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
H.4210, An Act Relative to Children’s Health and Wellness
including SECTION 12 – Mandated Reporter Reform
Remarks made by Representative Khan on the House Floor on Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Thank you Mr. Speaker and through you to the Members.
I appreciate this opportunity to speak in support of H. 4210, An Act Relative to Children's Health and Wellness, and its importance for the families and children of our Commonwealth and in specific, SECTION 12. SECTION 12 addresses better protecting our children from abuse and neglect by establishing a Special Commission to review and report on our mandated reporter laws.
It became clear to me as Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities after reviewing and hearing many bills filed by our esteemed members over a number of sessions on mandated reporting, that our present statute is insufficient. In response, I filed a bill to address this pressing issue and am grateful to the Gentlewoman from Lunenburg, the Gentlewoman from Cambridge, the Gentleman from Plymouth, and, to you Mr. Speaker for H.4210 which is a call to action. Children are protected when mandated reporters recognize and report suspected child abuse and neglect.
SECTION 12 directs the Office of the Child Advocate to establish the Special Commission to review and make recommendations on best practices for mandated reporter training, accountability and reporting; proposals to expand mandated reporting requirements; revise the definition of child abuse and neglect; and, options for designating an agency to oversee aspects of the mandated reporter system among others.
The Office of the Child Advocate is well positioned to direct and Chair this Commission. The Child Advocate is committed to working with the many stakeholders around the state as well as with our affected state agencies to protect our children to recommend best practices to ensure that we are doing everything possible to create a safer environment for our children.
I ask for your support of SECTION 12 and H.4210 in its total approach in addressing children’s health and wellness.