Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Missouri

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.110

'Abuse' means any physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means by those responsible for the child's care, custody, and control.

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.110

'Neglect' means failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child, proper or necessary support; education as required by law; nutrition; or medical, surgical, or any other care necessary for the child's well-being.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.110

The term 'abuse' includes sexual abuse. Victims of neglect also shall include any victims of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking, as those terms are defined in Federal law.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.110

The term 'abuse' includes emotional abuse inflicted on a child by those responsible for the child's care, custody, and control.

Abandonment

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.115

A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.110

The term 'those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child' includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The parents or legal guardians of a child
  • Other members of the child's household
  • Anyone exercising supervision over a child for any part of a 24-hour day
  • Any adult person who has access to the child, based on a relationship to the parents of the child, members of the child's household, or the family
  • Any person who takes control of the child by deception, force, or coercion
  • School personnel, contractors, and volunteers, if the relationship with the child was established through the school or through school-related activities, even if the alleged abuse or neglect occurred outside of school hours or off school grounds

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.110; 210.115

Discipline, including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be considered abuse.

A child who does not receive specified medical treatment by reason of the legitimate practice of the religious belief of the child's parents, guardian, or others legally responsible for the child shall not be found to be an abused or neglected child for that reason alone.

The division may accept reports concerning such a child and may subsequently investigate or conduct a family assessment as a result of that report. This exception shall not limit the administrative or judicial authority of the State to ensure that medical services are provided to the child when the child's health requires it.

For the purposes of providing supportive services or verifying the status of a youth as unaccompanied or homeless for the purposes of accessing supportive services, the fact that a child is an unaccompanied youth, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 11434a(6), is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for reporting child abuse or neglect, unless the child is under age 16 or is an incapacitated person, as defined in § 475.010. Nothing in this subsection shall limit a mandated reporter from making a report if the mandated reporter knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that an unaccompanied youth has been or may be a victim of abuse or neglect.