Changes in the Law that Affect Our Children: Part I

Aug 21


Donald P. Schweitzer

Donald P. Schweitzer

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This article outlines changes in the law that affect children.


Website for Registered Sex OffendersHave you ever wondered if someone living in your neighborhood could be a potential threat to your safety or the safety of a family member? To help California citizens locate this very information,Changes in the Law that Affect Our Children: Part I Articles Megan's Law was passed on August 24, 2004 and signed by the Governor on September 24, 2004. It required that the California Department of Justice create a website, by July 1, 2005, providing the public with internet access to detailed information on registered sex offenders. The site includes the names, addresses, and pictures of those who have been convicted of specified crimes, as well as their descriptions, criminal history (except unrelated crimes), and other relevant information. It is not required that the victim or the offender’s employer be identified. Megan's Law is named after a young girl from New Jersey, Megan Kanka, who, at the age of seven, was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In light of the death of their daughter, her family sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states now have some form of Megan's Law. The law is not intended to punish the offender, but rather to protect members of our local communities and their children. To view the website go to:

Reporting Child AbuseIn an effort to protect our children, California is constantly making additions to the list of those who must report child abusers, otherwise known as “mandated reporters.” The law has recently been amended and the list of “mandated reporters” now includes anyone who is providing in-home supportive services to a disabled child, if the service providers have received relevant training or learning materials.

Drug and Alcohol Testing in Custody ProceedingsCalifornia legislators have recently made it clear that the court has the power to order parents to undergo drug and alcohol testing. Newly enacted Family Code, Section 3041.5, authorizes family law courts to order drug and alcohol testing for any parent involved in a custody dispute if it is found, by a preponderance of evidence, that the parent uses illegal drugs or abuses alcohol habitually or continually (or frequently, in the case of controlled substances). Either parent (or both parents) can be ordered to pay for the drug testing. A positive result, by itself, cannot be grounds for a custody ruling against the party. The tested party will be entitled to a hearing to contest the results.