References to Caretakers

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References to Caretakers

Postby Marina » Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:45 am

References to Caretakers

Here is something interesting about who is a "caretaker." I am posting Virginia's policy, because it gives an example of a couple of other common issues.

One issue relates to the scrutiny they place on step-fathers when considering returning children home from foster care. It appears that any adult in the home is considered a "caretaker."

The other issue relates to teenagers being molested in group homes by other teenagers. Since children are not considered "caretakers" because of their age, authorities do not have to consider child-on-child rape as a "valid" report. Of course, for parents, it is "failure to protect." But for directors of group homes, they are the "best" facility for children who have been sexually abused.

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"Caretaker" means any individual having the responsibility of
providing care for a child and includes the following:

(i) parent or other person legally responsible for the child's care;

(ii) any other person who has assumed caretaking responsibility by virtue of an agreement with the legally responsible person;

(iii) persons responsible by virtue of their positions of conferred authority; and

(iv) adult persons residing in the home with the child.

As stated in the definition, there are four categories of caretaker.
Each category is divided into subcategories to assist in clarifying who may be a caretaker. Those categories and subcategories include:

a. Parent or other person legally responsible for the child's care including:

(1) Natural parent
(2) Adoptive parent
(3) Stepparent

b. Any other individual who has assumed caretaking responsibility by virtue of an agreement (whether formal or informal) with the legally responsible person including but not limited to:

(1) Relatives (including siblings under 18 )
(2) Foster parents
(3) Babysitter
(4) Day care personnel

c. Individuals responsible by virtue of their position of authority or position, including but not limited to:

(1) Teacher or other school personnel
(2) Institutional staff
(3) Scout troop leaders

d. When they are living in the home with the child, the following are
assumed to be responsible for the child's care:

(1) Grandparents,
(2) Other relatives age 18 or over,
(3) Paramour of parent, or
(4) Sibling age 18 or over

Inherent within the definition of a caretaker is that the individual was responsible for providing care and supervision for the child or assumed responsibility for providing care and supervision for the child. When determining whether a person is responsible for the care of a child, the CPS worker should consider the amount of authority for the care, control and discipline of the child delegated to the person acting as a caretaker.

For a further discussion about determining whether a person, including a minor, was acting as a caretaker for a child, please see Appendix A-6.

page 68 ... policy.pdf


In determining whether a person is a caretaker, it may be helpful to consider several questions:
What is the person’s relationship with the child?

What is that person’s role or function toward the child?

Was the primary responsibility of the person toward the child one of supervision and providing care, or was the person providing a professional or expert service?

How do the child and the child’s usual caretaker view this relationship and role?

How does the community view this relationship and role?

Have the parents or other person specifically delegated formally or informally the caretaking role for this person?

Practice in some communities has been to exclude some types of persons as caretakers based on the needs of the children, the abilities of families to protect them, and other remedies in place such as a professional licensing board. Some exclusions have included sheriffs, police, doctors, dentists and psychotherapists. Non-public school teachers, coaches, music teachers, etc., have also been unofficially and routinely excluded from the definition of caretaker in some locales.

Frequently there are concerns when the alleged abuser is a minor. The following considerations may guide the decisions regarding a minor as caretaker and alleged abuser:

1. Was it appropriate for the juvenile to have been put in a caretaking
role? Was the supervision plan appropriate?
2. Was the alleged abuse by the minor indicative of his/her own abuse?
(i.e. sexual knowledge or behavior that is age inappropriate)
3. What is the age difference between the alleged abuser and the victim; was this peer interaction?
4. What is the minor’s understanding of what he did; does he realize how inappropriate it was?
5. Is this acting out rather than abusive behavior?
Special consideration must be given to the needs of minor caretakers who are abusive.

The report may be Unfounded in relation to the minor as the abuser, because it is determined that the minor was inappropriately placed in a caretaking role. However, the behaviors of the minor may indicate a need for services. Each local department maintains the discretion to validate reports of child abuse and neglect.

page 19 ... ndix_a.pdf

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