When a human service agency is sued, litigation is usually resolved through settlement. Who pays the bill? Very often, it’s an insurance company. Claims that involve human service agencies vary widely. Whether dealing with a simple workplace accident, serious injuries and fatalities, or allegations of negligence or professional malpractice, an insurance company’s priority is to provide swift, effective resolution of every claim. The company evaluates which claims should be legally defended and which warrant early settlement. The person making these decisions will be an insurance company claims adjuster. Seemingly anonymous, claims adjusters are ultimately responsible for deciding how much money, if any, will be paid out in settlement. The claims process can be complicated. A good defense counsel must avoid any legal missteps while balancing the needs of the policyholder and the insurance company. All in all, this is not an easy assignment.
Extensive citation of social science research is unnecessary for us to know that child sexual abuse is one of the most underreported crimes. Likewise, most people would be hard pressed to think of a crime as despicable as child sexual abuse, and we have few qualms about strict sentences for such offenders. So when an Orange County, California, Superior Court judge recently sentenced a child rapist to 10 years instead of the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years, the community was outraged. Tens of thousands of people called for the judge to resign. It happens—albeit rarely—that people are wrongfully convicted of child sexual abuse and are later exonerated. The National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), a project of the University of Michigan Law School “provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence.” This article looks at the 181 cases of people listed in the NRE registry as exonerated for “child sex abuse” from 2010 through August 2015.
This article investigates the extent to which departments of human services should be mandated by statute to videotape child sexual abuse investigative interviews. While numerous states instruct that videotaping may be done, most do so only by regulation or administrative directive.
The child abuse and neglect hotline rings. All other factors being equal, does it matter if the reporter is anonymous or identified? Effective child maltreatment investigation relies to a significant extent upon information supplied by anonymous reporters. Reliance on these reporters presents the child protection, law enforcement, and judicial systems with a challenge: giving proper weight to such reports while safeguarding everyone’s constitutional rights. During FFY 2012, child protective services agencies received 3.4 million referrals involving approxim...