Monday, December 27, 2010

DCFS Guidelines Are Neither Administrative Rules Nor Statute

K.Y. v. DCFS, (Utah Court of Appeals November 26, 2010).

Juvenile Court found K.Y., a teacher, neglected the student according to DCFS Guidelines’ definition of emotional maltreatment.  The teacher taped the student’s wrists to her desk with a six inch piece of scotch tape for two minutes as a method of discipline.
The Guidelines were neither promulgated as rules nor codified in statute and as such were neither rules nor statute and do not have the force of law.  The Juvenile Court based its entire ruling on only the DCFS guidelines, and never considered the statutory definitions of abuse or neglect.
The Court of Appeals found that K.Y.’s actions did not meet the statutory definition of neglect.  Additionally, there was insufficient evidence for any finding of abuse, and the JV court did not evaluate whether the teacher’s actions were a form of reasonable discipline.

In short, the JV Court did not use the correct analysis.  Under the correct analysis, K.Y.’s actions were neither neglect nor abuse.  The ruling of the JV court is Reversed.

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