Abuse by custodial parents also masked by federal law

“Dad couldn’t find his cigarettes, squeezed me real hard and threw me across the room.”

Those words haunted the 4-year-old boy’s mother, leaving her devastated and angry.

That was especially true when she learned that the three fingerprint-shaped bruises on her son’s neck could have been prevented if it weren’t for a federal law.

The Canton woman learned that a confidentiality law — known as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act — prohibited caseworkers from Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services’ Child Protective Services Department from telling her that her ex-husband was found guilty of abusing his live-in girlfriend’s children.

Without that information, the Canton woman continued to drop off her son for court-mandated visitation with her ex-husband, per the couple’s divorce settlement.

This hasn’t been the only time that federal laws and state policies aimed at protecting child victims have caused harm, as The Times-Reporter discovered during its yearlong investigation publishing today.

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