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Maryland needs to put teeth into its child abuse reporting law

Children need protection from adults who sexually abuse them, and adults should report abuse when they suspect it ("A better way to help kids," Feb. 6). It should be as simple as that. But although Maryland law requires everyone to report suspected cases of abuse — not just educators, health practitioners and social workers — unlike 47 other states, there is no penalty for failure to meet this important obligation.

Those of us on the front lines in investigating child abuse cases see a need for significant penalties for failing to report child abuse. And the bills now pending in the legislature are not a knee-jerk reaction to the Penn State abuse case, but rather proposals that have been introduced unsuccessfully several times in the past but never were enacted into law.

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Adam Rosenberg, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

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