Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect Alaska

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Statute: 47.17.290; 47.17.020(d)
Health or welfare harmed or threatened

Religious exemption

Categories of Maltreatment Defined in Statute
Physical abuse


Sexual abuse

Sexual exploitation

Emotional/mental injury

Categories of Maltreatment Not Defined in Statute

Alaska Stat. 47.17.290 (Lexis, WESTLAW through 2000 3rd Spec. Sess.)

'Child' means a person under 18 years of age.

'Child abuse or neglect' means the physical injury or neglect, mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a person under circumstances that indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby. In this paragraph, 'mental injury' means an injury to the emotional well-being, or intellectual or psychological capacity of a child, as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function.

'Child care provider' means an adult individual, including a foster parent or an employee of an organization, who provides care and supervision to a child for compensation or reimbursement.

'Department' means the Department of Health and Social Services.

'Maltreatment' means an act or omission that results in circumstances in which there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child may be a child in need of aid, due to acts or omissions of a parent, guardian, or custodian, conditions exist that put a child at risk of harm, as described in statute, except that, for purposes of this chapter, the act or omission need not have been committed by the child's parent, custodian, or guardian.

'Mental injury' means a serious injury to the child as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function in a developmentally appropriate manner and the existence of that impairment is supported by the opinion of a qualified expert witness.

'Neglect' means the failure by a person responsible for the childs welfare to provide necessary food, care, clothing, shelter, or medical attention for a child.

'Person responsible for the child's welfare' means the child's parent, guardian, foster parent, a person responsible for the child's care at the time of the alleged child abuse or neglect, or a person responsible for the child's welfare in a public or private residential agency or institution.

'Reasonable cause to suspect' means cause, based on all the facts and circumstances known to the person that would lead a reasonable person to believe that something might be the case.

'Sexual exploitation' includes allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution by a person responsible for the child's welfare; or allowing, permitting, encouraging, a child to engage in actual or simulated activities of a sexual nature that are prohibited by criminal statute, by a person responsible for the child's welfare.


Alaska Stat. 47.17.020(d) (1996)

A religious healing practitioner is not required to report as neglect of a child the failure to provide medical attention to a child if the child is provided treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by an accredited practitioner of the church or denomination.
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