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A Primer on Criminal Child Abuse and Neglect Law


  • Douglas E. Abrams

  • Editor's Note: This article is adapted from Chapter 5 of Children and the Law in a Nutshell, by Sarah H. Ramsey and Douglas E. Abrams (4th ed. 2011), published by West Academic. (To purchase a copy, call 888-728-7677 or visit If you are a professor considering this text for adoption and would like to receive a complimentary copy, call 800-313-WEST (9378) or e-mail Reprinted by permission.


This article surveys major aspects of criminal child abuse and neglect law encountered by judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers, child advocates, and child care professionals. The author, whose casebook, Children and the Law: Doctrine, Policy and Practice (West 4th ed. 2010) (with Sarah H. Ramsey), is required reading in law schools throughout the United States, analyzes both constitutional and statutory law.