|Case Date:||September 23, 1986|
Colorado Attorney General Opinions 1986. AGO 86-13. September 23, 1986Department of Law Attorney General Opinion FORMAL OPINION of DUANE WOODARD Attorney General Opinion No. 86-13 AG Alpha No. SS SS AGAPP Ruben A. Valdez Executive Director Department of Social Services 717 17th Street P.O. Box 181000 Denver, CO 80218-0899 RE: Ability of county departments of social services to prevent the withholding of medically-indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditionsDear Mr. Valdez: This opinion letter is in response to your September 12, 1986 letter in which you inquired about legal remedies available to county departments of social services in cases of medical neglect including withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions. QUESTIONS PRESENTED AND CONCLUSIONS Your request for an Attorney General's Opinion presents the question: Do county departments of social services have the ability to prevent the withholding of medically-indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions, access medical records and obtain court-ordered independent medical examinations? Yes. ANALYSIS Colorado statutes deal with child dependency, abuse and neglect in title 19 of C.R.S., which is known as the "Colorado Children's Code." Article 10 of title 19, the "Child Protection Act of 1975," deals, in particular, with the reporting and investigation of child abuse and neglect. Section 19-10-103(1)(a)(III), C.R.S. (1985 Supp.) defines "child abuse or neglect" to include an act or omission which threatens the health or welfare of a child, including cases where a child is "in need of services because the child's parents, legal guardians, or custodians fail to take the same actions to provide adequate ... medical care ... that a prudent parent would take." A "neglected or dependent child" includes, pursuant to section 19-1-103(20)(d), C.R.S. (1978), a child whose parent, guardian or legal custodian fails or refuses to provide proper or necessary medical care necessary for his/her health or well-being. A disabled infant with life-threatening conditions who is being deprived of medically-indicated treatment is a neglected or dependent child under section 19-1-103(20)(d). The withholding of medically-indicated treatment from such an infant is...
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