State should bolster law about neglect and abuse

OlympiaFebruary 1, 2014 

Please support Senate Bill 6295. This is not about religion. It is about child welfare. The bill is supported by the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Christian Science treatment consists of practitioners praying for patients and providing care by nurses. Religious adopted medical terminology is not validated through education, board licensure or standards of care.

I am a clinician, held by law to standards, and accountable legally, civilly, criminally, ethically and morally. Religions plagiarizing terminology, to cloak prayer with no medical knowledge background, lacks safeguards for all. Christian Scientists are not state-licensed.

As a child abuse clinician, I support Sen. Mark Mullet’s bill to both repeal the current wording of state law addressing the abuse and neglect of children with regard to cultural and religious practices and beliefs, and to provide a fair, clear and far more protective verbiage for children at risk.

It protects all minorities from state intrusion when the child is not at substantial risk, while making clear that real dangers to a child’s health should be reported regardless of parents’ religious beliefs. It aligns with Congress’ 2010 child protection systems “while not allowing the differences in those beliefs and traditions to enable abuse or neglect.”

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