Nontransparency in Child Protective Services (CPS)

 Family Assessment vs. CPS investigation

KARA Video (6min)

(the heart of the matter)

Share our information with your lawmakers –

change won’t come without you.


Who represents me in the legislature?|Contact state house members|Contact state senators|Contact your member of congressU.S. (National)


For ten years, KARA board member & CASA volunteer David Strand made public policy on children’s issues in Northern Europe.

When he returned to the U.S., he became a CASA volunteer Guardian ad Litem and was appalled at the suffering abused and neglect children were allowed to experience even while in Child Protective Services.

David worked hard to bring attention to the great lack of attention and care America’s at-risk children receive compared to their peers in other advanced nations. He knew (even before ACEs made it clear in recent times) that child abuse untreated impacts a child, the adult they become, and the community they live in for life.

This recent one-of-a-kind investigative report of children dying at the hands of their parents while in CHILD PROTECTION shows how the U.S. is an outlier in protecting its at-risk children.

  1. Too many INVISIBLE children are suffering and even dying at the hands of their parents while in Child Protective Services (CPS).
  2. America is an outlier in not granting children basic civil rights and the only nation in the world to not ratify the United Nation’s RIGHTS OF THE CHILD TREATY in the 1980’s. See the list of legal rights (below) other nations give their children that we do not.
  3. KARA believes these sad facts exist because there is so little transparency in the institution of Child Protection. Until there are metrics to demonstrate the successes and failures of the institution, very little will change for abused and neglected children in our communities.


What you can’t do to children in other nations and not go to jail for:


Legal Status: Illegal

Corporal punishment itself was removed as a defense for assault 46 years ago in Austria, and as such a person cannot be charged with the crime of Corporal Punishment. However, it is penalised under the Criminal Code, Section 225, which refers to the maltreatment of wards, where “rough maltreatment” can result in a sentence from 6 months to 10 years, depending on the severity of the case.


Legal Status: Legal1

In 2023, legal action is being taken by the NGO Defence for Child International against the Belgian State. 1,

It should be noted that while there is no specific bill or provision in the criminal code prohibiting corporal punishment, there are two bill which aim to remove corporal punishment, but both are yet to be passed 1. Further, domestic violences is a



Legal Status: Illegal1

Under Bulgaria’s Family Code (2009), physical violence as discipline for children, or corporal punishment, can results in:

“…restriction or termination of parental rights and duties (articles 131 to 132 FC), restraint orders under the Protection against Domestic Violence Act (2005), or penalties under the Criminal Code in case the violence constitutes a crime (infliction of severe or medium bodily injury or a health impairment – articles 128 to130 Penal Code)”.

Legal consequences in Bulgaria for first-time domestic violence offenders is:

  • “Oblige the perpetrator to abstain from committing domestic violence. 
  • Remove the perpetrator from the cohabited residence for a term decided by the court. 
  • Prohibit the perpetrator from approaching the victim, the victim’s residence, working place and places of social contact. 
  • Temporarily place the child with the victimized parent, unless this contradicts the child’s interests.
  • Oblige the perpetrator to take part in specialized rehabilitation programs. 
  • Refer victims to rehabilitation programs.”

Failing to comply with court rulings can result in a prison sentence of 3 years or a find of 5000 BGN (USD $2785.31). As for criminal offences, in Bulgaria the act of Domestic Violence is seen as secondary to the severity of the violence. For instance, if Domestic Violence were to results in severe bodily injury can results in a prison sentence for 2 – 10 years, medium bodily injury can result in a sentence of up to 6 years, and trivial bodily injury can result in a sentence of up to 2 years or corrective labour.



Legal Status: Illegal1

Despite the Illegality, the Croatian criminal Code has significant gaps that may lead to the prevalence of Corporal punishment in Croatia. This is due to corporal punishment being considered as a criminal offence, along with a misdemeanour, faces the issue of ne bis in idem, where an individual cannot be sentenced for the same crime twice. This is also known as Double Jeopardy3. With consideration to Croatian Law, the only clear difference is that under Article 25(a) of the Croatian Criminal Code, is that a criminal offence requires a family member being put into a humiliating position. Sentencing for this Criminal Offence can range from 3 months to three years. According to a 2018 report by the Croatian Government, there were 10,272 cases of misdemeaner domestic violence, and only 3,198 case of Criminal Offence domestic violence, which could indicate the scale of the classification problem within the Croatian legal system. This could therefore leave children in known, unsafe situations within their homes, despite the illegality of corporal punishment.



Legal Status: Illegal1

While Cyprus made corporal punishment unlawful in 1994, it was only removed from the Children’s Law (1956) in 2013. Despite the act of corporal punishment being illegal, there is no sentence for corporal punishment as a crime1. However, under the Violence in the Family (2000) Law, crimes committed against a member of one’s family carry with them increase sentences. For instance, for the crime of common assault, is increased from 1 to 2 years, wounding and similar acts is increased from 3 to 5 years imprisonment, and grievous harm has an increased imprisonment from 7 to 10 years11.



Legal Status: Legal1

While the act of corporal punishment is currently legal in the Czech Republic, an amendment to the Civil Code, announced in June of 2023, will mean that all corporal punishment, including within homes, will be prohibited. However, this is yet to come into effect1.



Legal Status: Illegal1

The use of corporal punishment we prohibited in 1997, and unlike many countries wear corporal punishment is illegal, Denmark explicitly states in the Danish Act on Parental Responsibility (2007) that:

“Children have the right to care and security. Children must be treated with respect for their person and must not be exposed to corporal punishment or other humiliating treatment.”

As such, this makes Denmark one of the few countries that use the term corporal punishment in their legal framework. As such, Corporal Punishment is included as a crime against “life and body” and can lead to 3 years imprisonment1.



Legal Status: Illegal1

In Estonia’s Child Protection Act 2014, article 24, states that physical punishment against a child is prohibited, and that the only time physical force can be used against a child is to protect the child from external dangers, or if the child is acting in a dangerous manner. As such, by Estonia’s Penal Code, this is punishable through pecuniary punishment, that is to say, a fine, although no exact amount is given



Legal Status: Illegal1

Finland has a strong message against Corporal Punishment, similar to Denmark, where it states in its Child Custody and Right of Access Act (1983) states in Article 1.3 that:

“A child shall be brought up in the spirit of understanding, security and love. He shall not be subdued, corporally punished or otherwise humiliated. His growth towards independence, responsibility and adulthood shall be encouraged, supported and assisted”.

In terms of charges, assault can range from:

  • Petty assault: which incurs a petty assault fine.
  • Assault: which can incur a fine or imprisonment of up to 2 years.
  • Aggravated Assault: which can result in prison sentence of 6 months to 10 years.

These sentences are conditional to the severity of the assault, as described in The Penal Code of Finland (1963).



Legal Status: Illegal1

France prohibited Corporal Punishment under a 2019 amendment to the Civil Code, where changes to article 371-1 states “Parental authority is exercised without any physical or psychological violence”.

The French Penal Code has several articles that can be enforced if someone where to assault another individual, but there is no specific law for assault, instead there is the following laws:

  • Article 222-1: “Subjecting a person to torture or barbaric acts is punishable by fifteen years’ imprisonment.”, where under Article 222-3, the sentence can be extended to 20 years if the person is a minor under the age of 15.
  • Article 222-14: “Habitual violence against a minor under the age of fifteen or against a person whose particular vulnerability, due to his or her age, illness, infirmity, physical or mental deficiency or pregnancy, is apparent or known to the perpetrator shall be punished…”, where the following extensions can apply:
  1. Thirty years’ imprisonment when they have resulted in the death of the victim;
  2. Twenty years’ imprisonment when they have resulted in mutilation or permanent disability;
  3. Ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of €150,000 when they have resulted in total incapacity for work for more than eight days;
  4. Five years’ imprisonment and a fine of €75,000 if they have not resulted in total incapacity for work for more than eight days.

Article 222-18: “The threat, by any means, to commit a crime or misdemeanour against persons, is punishable by three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros, when made with the order to fulfil a condition. The penalty is increased to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of €75,000 for a death threat.” I feel this section warrants noting due to the severity of the punishment where a threat against one’s child can result in criminal charges.



Legal Status: Illegal1

In a 2000 amendment to Article 1631(2) of the German Civil Code through the Act to Prohibit Violence in the Upbringing of the Child states: “Children have a right to non-violent child-rearing. Physical punishments, psychological injuries and other degrading measures are inadmissible.”

Under Section 223 of the German Criminal Code:

Bodily Harm constitutes:

(1) Whoever physically assaults or damages the health of another person incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine.

(2) The attempt is punishable

Whereas Dangerous Bodily Harm, under Section 224, is seen as:

(1) Whoever causes bodily harm

  1. by administering poison or other substances which are harmful to health,
  2. using a weapon or other dangerous implement,
  3. by means of a treacherous assault,
  4. acting jointly with another party to the offence or
  5. using methods which pose a danger to life

incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term of between six months and 10 years, in less serious cases imprisonment for a term of between three months and five years.

(2) The attempt is punishable.”



Legal Status: Illegal1

In Greece, Law 3500/2006 entitled “For the treatment of domestic violence and other provisions” prohibits violence within the family, which can bring the consequences of Article 1532 of the Civil Code which states:

Article 1532. – Consequences of defective exercise. 

If the father or the mother violate the duties imposed on them by their function to take care of the person of the child or the administration of its property or if they exercise abusively such function or they are not in a position to cope with this task the Court may at the request of the other parent the closer relatives of the child the public prosecutor or even on its own initiative order any appropriate measure. The Court may in particular take away from one parent the exercise of parental care wholly or partially and entrust such care to the other parent or if the circumstances described in the preceding paragraph obtain also in regard to the person of the other parent entrust the actual care of the child or even its custody wholly or in part to a third party or to appoint a guardian”.

As shown above, parental rights can be removed from parents who commit acts of violence against their children, including what was once described as corporal punishment.



Legal Status: Illegal1

Corporal Punishment was prohibited through a 2004 amendment to the Act on the Protection of Children and Guardianship Administration (the Child Protection Act) 19971. Section 6(5) states:

A child has the right to respect for their human dignity, to protection against abuse – whether physical, sexual or psychological violence – neglect and informational harm. A child shall not be subjected to torture, corporal punishment or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment”.

The Criminal Code of Hungary indicates the consequences for Causing Bodily Harm in Section 164:

1) A person who harms the physical integrity or health of another person commits the criminal offence of causing bodily harm

(2) If the harm or illness caused heals within eight days, the perpetrator is guilty of the misdemeanour of causing minor bodily harm and shall be punished by imprisonment for up to two years. 

(3) If the harm or illness caused heals beyond eight days, the perpetrator is guilty of the felony of causing grievous bodily harm and shall be punished by imprisonment for up to three years. 

(4) The perpetrator is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for up to three years if causing minor bodily harm is committed 

  1. a) for a base reason or purpose, 
  2. b) against a person who is incapable of self-defence or unable to express his will, or 
  3. c) against a person with limited ability to avert the criminal offence due to his old age or disability. 

(5) The punishment shall be imprisonment for one to five years if the causing of minor bodily harm causes a permanent disability or any serious degradation of health. 

(6) The punishment shall be imprisonment for one to five years if the causing of grievous bodily harm is committed 

  1. a) for a base reason or purpose, 
  2. b) against a person who is incapable of self-defence or unable to express his will, 
  3. c) against a person with limited ability to avert the criminal offence due to his old age or disability, 
  4. d) by causing a permanent disability or any serious degradation of health, 
  5. e) with special cruelty. 

(7) A person who commits preparation for a criminal offence specified in paragraph (3) or (6) is guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be punished by imprisonment for up to one year. 

(8) The punishment shall be imprisonment for two to eight years if the causing of bodily harm causes any danger to life or death. 

(9) A person who commits causing grievous bodily harm by negligence is guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be punished by imprisonment for 

  1. a) up to one year in the case specified in paragraph (3), 
  2. b) up to three years in the cases specified in paragraph (6) b) to c), 
  3. c) one to five years if the harm caused poses a danger to life. 

(10) The criminal offence specified in paragraph (2) shall only be punishable upon private motion



Legal Status: Illegal1

Corporal Punished was prohibited in Ireland in 2015. This was through an amendment to the Offence Against the Person (Non-Fatal) Act 19971 through the 2015 Children First Act, Article 24A, which states: “The common law defence of reasonable chastisement is abolished”.

Under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act (1997) Section 2:

(1) A person shall be guilty of the offence of assault who, without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly—
(a) directly or indirectly applies force to or causes an impact on the body of another, or
(b) causes another to believe on reasonable grounds that he or she is likely immediately to be subjected to any such force or impact,
without the consent of the other.
(2) In subsection (1) (a), “force” includes—
(a) application of heat, light, electric current, noise or any other form of energy, and
(b) application of matter in solid liquid or gaseous form.
(3) No such offence is committed if the force or impact, not being intended or likely to cause injury, is in the circumstances such as is generally acceptable in the ordinary conduct of daily life and the defendant does not know or believe that it is in fact unacceptable to the other person.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.



Legal Status: Mostly illegal1

Italy has mostly outlawed the use of corporal punishment against children via the Supreme Court in 19961. Despite this ruling and according to the organisation End Corporal Punishment, there is yet to be an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in the Law, it can make prosecuting and reducing child abuse difficult1.



Legal Status: Illegal1

Latvia has clear law prohibiting corporal punishment. Section 9(2) of the Law on Protection of the Right of the Child 1998 states, “A child shall not be treated cruelly, tortured, or physically punished, and his or her dignity and honour shall not be violated”. Furthermore, in Section 24(4) it goes on to state “Parents shall be held liable as determined by law for not fulfilling their parental duties and for abuse of custody rights, physical punishment or cruel treatment of a child”.

In the Latvian Criminal Code, Section 125, Intentional Serious Bodily can be punished through “the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to seven years, with or without probationary supervision for a period of up to three years”. Furthermore, Intentional Moderate Bodily Injury can result in “the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to three years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or probationary supervision, or community service, or fine”.



Legal Status: Illegal1

Lithuania prohibited corporal punishment in 2017 through amendments to Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child 1996 which defined corporal punishment to be included as a violent act:

…physical violence’ means any direct or indirect intentional physical act against a child, as well as corporal punishment, which causes pain to a child, causes harm or endangers his life, health, development or harm to his or her honour and dignity.“

Article 140 of Lithuanias Criminal Code, in regards to physical assault, that: “A person who, by beating or other violent actions, causes to a person physical pain or a negligible bodily harm or a short-term illness shall be punished by community service or by restriction of liberty or by arrest or by imprisonment for a term of up to one year”, this is followed up in subsection 2 of this article in reference to assault against a child that “A person who commits the act indicated in paragraph 1 of this Article in respect of a young child or by torturing the victim shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of up to two years.”



Legal Status: Illegal1

Corporal Punishment is prohibited under the Law on Children and Family 2008, where in Article 2 sates:



Legal Status: Illegal1

After a 2014 amendment to the Malta Criminal Code



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Legal1



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Illegal1



Legal Status: Mixed1



Legal Status: Legal/Mixed1



  • Transparency of student outcomes/performance in U.S. schools has been Institutionalized for decades.
  • Transparency in U.S. law enforcement is a current social issue becoming front page news.
  • Transparency in CPS (Child Protective Services) is almost unheard of.

KARA Maintains this site with the hope that this information will compel you

to share our information with your lawmakers –

change won’t come without you.


Who represents me in the legislature?|Contact state house members|Contact state senators|Contact your member of congressU.S. (National)

The lack of transparency regarding the well-being of children in Child Protection Services leads the public to assume that everything is satisfactory, which is frequently not the case. Unlike any other American institution, Child Protection closely guards its client outcomes metrics. The extent of childhood trauma, torture, suicide, self-harm, depression, school failure, and mental health crises remains largely unknown to us.

When we know more,

we make better decisions.

Better decisions save lives

and make life more bearable

for the children suffering abuse.


This article submitted by Former CASA Guardian Ad Litem Mike Tikkanen

Signup For KARA’s FREE Friday Morning Updates

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children


“What we do to our children, they will do to our society”

(Pliny the Elder, 2000 years ago)