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U.S. Progress in Ending Physical Punishment of Children in Schools, Institutions, Foster Care, Day Care and Families (***Summary, December 2012, Compiled by The Center for Effective Discipline) ***For details, please continue to scroll this page...

SCHOOLS
Physical punishment is banned in all public schools in 31 states. In the 19 states which allow its use, many large city school districts have banned it.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, 223,190 public school students were paddled in the 2006-2007 school year.

FAMILY CHILD CARE
In state-regulated Family Child Care settings, 47 states ban physical punishment of children by law or regulations.

GROUP HOMES/INSTITUTIONS
Physical punishment is prohibited by law or regulations in state-regulated group homes and institutions of 44 states.

CHILD CARE CENTERS
Physical punishment is prohibited by law or regulations in state-regulated Child Care Centers in 48 states.

HOME FOSTER CARE
Physical punishment is prohibited by law or regulations in state-regulated family foster care in 50 states.

HOMES
Reasonable physical punishment is allowed in homes in all states except for Minnesota where a series of statutory provisions read together make physical punishment by parents or other lawful custodians a prosecutable assault.


U.S. Progress in Ending Physical Punishment of Children in Schools, Institutions, Foster Care, Day Care and Families

EPOCH-USA seeks to end corporal punishment of children in all settings including homes through education and legal reform. Only by putting bans in laws or regulations can such changes be effectively enforced. All bans should be accompanied by an educational component.

** The following information on the use of corporal punishment for licensed care for children was obtained from child care licensing laws and regulations for day care, family foster care and residential group care for each state. Information about schools was obtained from laws regulating public schools.

Terms:

Prohibited: Corporal punishment is specifically prohibited by laws or regulations.

Permitted: Corporal punishment is not specifically prohibited or is specifically allowed by laws or regulations. In some states it is allowed only for specific ages or in specific settings. In some states it is not specifically prohibited but training and legal interpretation by state regulatory offices ban its use even though there is no specific statutory or regulatory authority for doing so. Some local child care licensing requirements may prohibit corporal punishment even if there are no state prohibitions.

CHILD CARE LICENSING LAWS EXEMPTIONS: The following states have certain religious exemptions in licensing regulations: Please contact info@stophitting.org for further information: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

** In all states where corporal punishment is not banned, local boards may prohibit its use.

** All states permit parents to use reasonable corporal punishment of children (except Minnesota). More than thirty countries do not permit its use in families - Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Cyprus, Iceland, Romania, Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain and Chile. (see here for more details)

STATE BY STATE SURVEY
(click on a State to see it's information)

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

 

Physical Abuse Cases by State (2010)

The following is a state-by-state chart of confirmed physical abuse cases in the US in 2010.
Physical abuse of children most often begins as "discipline" in homes. The following list is a state-by-state list of confirmed physical abuse cases from Child Maltreatment 2010 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is well accepted by child abuse authorities that the number of physical abuse incidents are substantially underestimated. A study in the Carolinas showed that for every child officially listed as a confirmed victim of physical abuse, more than 40 go undetected. By: Theodore et al., (2005) Pediatrics, 115:331-337. Many child abuse prevention professionals have agreed that ending corporal punishment of children through education and legal reform would greatly reduce physical abuse of children.

 

Alabama – 4,687
Alaska - 367
Arizona - 972
Arkansas -2,385
California – 8,453
Colorado – 1,450
Connecticut -611
Delaware - 329
District of Columbia - 480
Florida – 5,303
Georgia – 2,768
Hawaii -203
Idaho - 271
Illinois – 5,667
Indiana – 2,371
Iowa – 1,506
Kansas – 336
Kentucky – 1,447
Louisiana – 2,285
Maine - 525
Maryland - 3,306
Massachusetts -3,437
Michigan – 7,486
Minnesota – 912
Mississippi – 1,554
Missouri – 1,634
Montana - 167
Nebraska – 534

Nevada - 1,525
New Hampshire - 122
New Jersey – 1,469
New Mexico - 756
New York – 8,792
North Carolina – 2,178
North Dakota - 180
Ohio – 12,270
Oklahoma – 1,110
Oregon – NR
Pennsylvania – 1,178
Puerto Rico – 2,709
Rhode Island - 457
South Carolina – 4,373
South Dakota - 127
Tennessee – 1,512
Texas – 13,632
Utah – 1,704
Vermont - 244
Virginia – 1,865
Washington – 1,538
West Virginia – 1,192
Wisconsin – 953
Wyoming - 48

Total – 121,380
Number Reporting - 51

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.  Child Maltreatment 2010 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office).

 

Alabama

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers- Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools -
Permitted

Arizona

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers-Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

California

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions- Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Connecticut

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

District of Columbia

Family Child Care - Permitted but proposed in pending revision
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Georgia

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Idaho

Family Child Care - Permitted. It is not addressed in law.
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Permitted. It is not addressed in law.
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Indiana

Family Child Care - Permitted by law
Group Homes/Institutions - Permitted - Strongly discouraged through training and interpretation of laws and regulations. Parent consent required.
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited (1999)
Schools - Permitted

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Kansas

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Louisiana

Family Child Care - Permitted
Group Homes/Institutions - Permitted in Child Residential Class "B" unless approved in writing by parent. Prohibited in Child Residential Class "A"
Child Care Centers - Permitted Class B (receive no federal funding) with parent permission. Prohibited in Class A Centers.
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Massachusetts

Family Child Care -Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Minnesota

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Missouri

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Nebraska

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

New Hampshire

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by state regulation

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New Mexico

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

North Carolina

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited in licensed centers. (permitted in religious-sponsored centers if the part of the religious belief of the church and with parent permission.
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Ohio

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Oregon

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Rhode Island

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by all boards of education

South Dakota

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Permitted
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by law rescinding authorization to use

Texas

Family Child Care - Prohibited. Corporal punishment and the threat of corporal punishment is prohibited.
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Vermont

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Washington

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Wisconsin

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care -Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

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Alaska

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Family Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by state regulation

Arkansas

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions- Prohibited in facilities licensed by the AR Department of Human Services. Permitted in private group homes/institutions licensed AR Child Welfare Agency Review Board
Child Care Centers- Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited in homes licensed by the AR Department of Human Services
Schools - Permitted

Colorado

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions- Prohibited
Child Care Centers -Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Delaware

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Florida

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care -Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Hawaii

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Permitted
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Illinois

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Iowa

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

 

Kentucky

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Maine

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Maryland

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Michigan

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Mississippi

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Permitted except in licensed homes
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited Schools - Permitted

Montana

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Nevada

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

New Jersey

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

New York

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by state regulation

North Dakota

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Oklahoma

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Pennsylvania

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by state board of education regulation

South Carolina

Family Child Care - Permitted Written parental permission required
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited in facilities when in custody of the state or placed by public agencies Child Care Centers - Permitted Written parental permission required and teachers must sign an agreement that written parental permission is required for use. Child Care Centers - Permitted Written parental permission required
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Tennessee

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited in all child welfare licensed facilities except for Residential Child Care Agencies which must have parental or guardian permission for corporal punishment. (new proposed standards would also include these under prohibition)
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited Schools - Permitted

Utah

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited by state regulation

Virginia

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Permitted Seven licensed institutions under 1987 standards "frozen by legislation for those institutions are permitted to use corporal punishment. As of 4-99 all seven had banned its use.
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

West Virginia

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Prohibited

Wyoming

Family Child Care - Prohibited
Group Homes/Institutions - Prohibited
Child Care Centers - Prohibited
Home Foster Care - Prohibited
Schools - Permitted

Important Notes: We have tried to report information about state laws and regulations accurately but offer the following caveats:

• Legislation/regulations are subject to change - We are aware of regulations being reviewed in a couple of states. Please inform us of changes.
• There are great variations in licensing/regulatory definitions which make comparisons difficult.
• Some states allow exemptions from licensing for facilities such as those run by religious or church groups and also for child care which involves only a few children, and
• Where we were unable to get current information, we kept the information from the previous study.

Please contact EPOCH-USA at info@stophitting.org for a contact person/office in your state where a complete set of regulations including definitions may be obtained. We recommend the web site National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care for state-by-state child care licensing information. The Children’s Foundation in Washington, DC has helpful licensing studies and can be contacted at childrensfoundation@erols.com. The National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools has specific information about public school corporal punishment on this web site.

The first survey of states’ progress in eliminating corporal punishment was done by Professor Adrienne Algren Haeuser, Co-Founder of EPOCH-USA. Copies of the 1993 study are available from the Center for Effective Discipline.

** The following states have certain religious exemptions in licensing regulations: Please contact info@stophitting.org for further information: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

Reasonable Corporal Punishment vs. Child Abuse


The Center For Effective Discipline