Defining and Reporting Child Maltreatment

Child Maltreatment includes

the abandonment, physical, emotional, psychological abuse, neglect and sexual exploitation of a child by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian. The New Mexico Children’s Code provides the following definitions (NMSA 32A-4-2). For the full Children’s Code click here.

Abandonment

When the parent, without justifiable cause:

  1. left the child without provision for the child’s identification for a period of fourteen days; or
  2. left the child with others, including the other parent or an agency, without provision for support and without communication for a period of:

(a) three months if the child was under six years of age at the commencement of the three-month period; or

(b) six months if the child was over six years of age at the commencement of the six-month period.

NMSA 32A-4-2(A)

 

Abuse

A child…

  1. who has suffered or who is at risk of suffering serious harm because of the action or inaction of the child’s parent, guardian or custodian;
  2. who has suffered physical abuse, emotional abuse or psychological abuse inflicted or caused by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian;
  3. who has suffered sexual abuse or sexual exploitation inflicted by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian;
  4. whose parent, guardian or custodian has knowingly, intentionally or negligently placed the child in a situation that may endanger the child’s life or health; or
  5. whose parent, guardian or custodian has knowingly or intentionally tortured, cruelly confined or cruelly punished the child;

NMSA 32A-4-2(B)

Neglect

A child….

  1. who has been abandoned by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian;
  2. who is without proper parental care and control or subsistence, education, medical or other care or control necessary for the child’s well-being because of the faults or habits of the child’s parent, guardian or custodian or the failure or refusal of the parent, guardian or custodian, when able to do so, to provide them;
  3. who has been physically or sexually abused, when the child’s parent, guardian or custodian knew or should have known of the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the child from further harm;
  4. whose parent, guardian or custodian is unable to discharge that person’s responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization or physical or mental disorder or incapacity; or
  5. who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law.

NMSA 32A-4-2(G)

Sexual Exploitation

Includes…

  1. allowing, permitting or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution;
  2. allowing, permitting, encouraging or engaging a child in obscene or pornographic photographing; or
  3. filming or depicting a child for obscene or pornographic commercial purposes, as those acts are defined by state law.

NMSA 32A-4-2(K)

REPORTING SUSPECTED CHILD MALTREATMENT

Every person who knows or has a reasonable suspicion that a child is an abused or neglected child shall report the matter immediately to:

  •  A local law enforcement agency;
  • The Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD); or
  • A tribal law enforcement or social services agency for any child residing in Indian country.

NMSA 32A-4-3(A)

CYFD accepts reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To report to CYFD:

  • Contact Statewide Central Intake (SCI) at #SAFE from a cell phone, or toll-free: 1-855-333-SAFE.
  • CYFD cross-reports all referrals to law enforcement.

 If a child needs immediate assistance call 911. 

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