Child abuse and neglect are defined by Federal and State laws. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is the Federal legislation that provides minimum standards that states must incorporate in their statutory definitions of child abuse and neglect. CAPTA defines child abuse and neglect as; any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm ("Home - Child Welfare Information Gateway", 2014). While all state statutes follow this general definition of child abuse and neglect, each state’s laws can vary with their own rules and regulations. States recognize the different types of abuse in their definitions as well. Child abuse can take several forms, but the most common is physical. Other types of abuse include; neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. In California, physical abuse is defined as when a child has suffered or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, serious physical harm inflicted non-accidently upon the child by the child’s parent or guardian ("Official California Legislative Information"). A court may also find that there is a substantial risk of serious future injury based on the manner in which a less serious injury was inflicted, a history of repeated inflictions of injuries on the child or child’s siblings, or a combination of these. California has additional definitions on child abuse, such as; the child is younger than five years old and has suffered severe physical abuse by parent or guardian causing the death of a child by physical abuse or neglect. California has standards for reporting child abuse. According to Penal Code 11166, a report is required when a person has, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate, on his or her training and experience, reasonable suspicion of child abuse and neglect ("Official California Legislative Information"). Illinoise’ statute on child abuse defines it as; ‘abused child’ means whose parent, immediate family member, any person responsible for the child’s welfare, any individual residing in the same home as the child, or a paramour of the child’s parent inflicts, causes or allows to be inflicted, or creates a substantial risk of physical injury by other than accidental means, that causes death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss or impairment of any bodily function ("Illinois General Assembly Home Page"). It is also considered child abuse when caregiver commits or allows to be committed an act or acts of torture upon the child. Illinois also touches on controlled substances. It is child abuse to cause a controlled substance to be sold, transferred, distributed, or given to the child under age 18. This is also a violation of the Illinois Controlled Substance Act of Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. Illinois’ standard for reporting is that a report is required when there is a reasonable cause to believe that a child may be an abused or neglected child.
While California an Illinois statutes for child abuse have many similarities, they also have some differences. California’s statute on child abuse really focuses on the parent or guardian of the child. They do not touch on the idea of someone other than the parent or guardian while Illinois does. Illinois’ statute protects the child from abuse from the parent, immediate family member, any person responsible for the child’s welfare, any individual residing in the same home as the child, or a paramour of the child’s parent. California considered a child dependent if the child’s parent or guardian has caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect but Illinois does not talk anywhere about the death