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Mandated Reporter Training Child Abuse & Neglect Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. Child, Youth, & Family Services Division.

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Presentation on theme: "Mandated Reporter Training Child Abuse & Neglect Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. Child, Youth, & Family Services Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mandated Reporter Training Child Abuse & Neglect Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. Child, Youth, & Family Services Division

2 A Training Curriculum for Mandated Reporters on the California Child Abuse Neglect Reporting (CANRA) Law Presented by San Luis Obispo County Child Abuse Prevention Council

3 Mandated Reporter Training Objectives 1.How the law defines child abuse and neglect 2.What is a Mandated Reporter? What is required of you as a Mandated Reporter? 3.What protections the law provides for you as a mandated reporter 4.How to identify signs of child abuse. 5.Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Procedure 6.What happens after a report is filed. 7.Special Concerns

4 Introduction The goal of today’s presentation is to make each of you aware that as paid staff serving children you are mandated by California state law to report any knowledge or suspicion that a child’s safety or welfare is at risk. It is not your responsibility to investigate such suspicions. In fact, if you do investigate, you might create obstacles to the ability of Child Welfare Services (CWS) to protect the children. Your sole responsibility is to report your concerns to the CWS by phone as soon as possible and in writing within 36 hours.

5 Two Types of Reporters Mandated reporters – those required to report suspected child abuse ­Have legal duty to report ­Can be held liable for failure to report Discretionary reporters – those who report simply because they develop a concern for a child’s welfare

6 Duty to Report

7 Circumstances for Reporting Reasonable suspicion – if a person is suspicious, based on facts that could create a reasonable person with his/her training and experience to suspect child abuse Knowledge criteria – this includes actual observation of child abuse or obtaining knowledge of abuse

8 Your Legal Responsibilities Legal duty to report if you have “reasonable suspicion” of abuse and obtain this knowledge during the course of your work You are NOT required to prove the abuse or collect evidence Your are NOT obligated to report if you are not serving in your professional capacity

9 What must be reported? Under CANRA, suspicions of the following must be reported in California ­Physical abuse ­Sexual abuse ­Emotional abuse ­Neglect When the victim is under the age of 18, and the perpetrator is any age

10 Identifying Child Abuse Requires first the understanding that child abuse can occur in any family, regardless of socio-economic status, religion, education, ethnic background, or other factors. ­Cultural beliefs may affect our perception of this Secondly, the professional must be aware of and alert to the signs of child abuse.

11 Obstacles to Reporting Denial Fear of making a mistake Fear that parent will be angry Belief that nothing happens when you make a report, or that it makes things worse

12 Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

13 Physical Abuse CANRA defines as a physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by parent, caretaker, or other adult known or unknown to child. Also includes unlawful corporal punishment or injury, willfully inflicted, resulting in a traumatic condition ­Spanking or corporal punishment is not necessarily illegal, it should be “reasonable and age-appropriate”

14 Physical Abuse Abusive bruises and burns may also be patterned, or have a distinct outline Accidental bruises usually do not leave a clear pattern or outline While an outline or pattern should raise concern, abusive injuries are not always patterned, and may look very similar to accidental bruises Some common patterns of INFLICTED bruises are shown next

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21 Sexual Abuse Per CANRA, child sexual abuse includes both sexual assault and sexual exploitation. ­ Sexual assault includes >Sex acts with children >Child molestation >Intentional masturbation in the presence of a child ­ Sexual exploitation includes >Preparing, selling, or distributing pornographic materials involving children >Performances involving obscene sexual conduct >Child prostitution

22 Sexual Abuse - Disclosure Most victims of sexual abuse report the crime(s) months or even years after they have occurred Many victims never report at all It is very common for children to recant a disclosure of sexual abuse ­They disclose the abuse and then change their story, denying that it ever happened ­This happens for a variety of reasons including fear, guilt, shame, embarrassment, or even a desire not to hurt the perpetrator or family unit

23 Neglect Under CANRA neglect of a child, whether "severe" or "general," must be reported if the perpetrator is a person responsible for the child's welfare ­ Includes: >Acts (i.e. locking a toddler in a hot car) >Omissions (i.e. not providing food) ­ The neglect may cause harm to the child or just threaten to harm the child's health or welfare >Must still report even if no injury

24 Neglect General neglect ­Failure of a caregiver to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision, where no physical injury to the child has occurred Severe neglect ­The intentional failure of a caregiver to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care ­Or caregiver willfully causes or permits the child to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered

25 Neglect- Religious Considerations Refusing medical care for religious reasons is a hotly debated topic when children are involved Per CANRA, a child receiving treatment by spiritual means or not receiving specified medical treatment for religious reasons, shall not for that reason alone be considered a neglected child An informed and appropriate medical decision made by a caregiver after consultation with a physician does not constitute neglect

26 Intimate Partner Violence California is one of the few states that mandates reports of intimate partner abuse between adolescents / teenagers ­“Intimate relationship” not dependent on age Can be reported to either local child welfare services or law enforcement agency Unfortunately, responses to reports of intimate partner violence affecting minors vary enormously from jurisdiction to jurisdiction

27 Emotional Abuse Under CANRA, also called cruelty Defined as willful cruelty or unjustified punishment includes: ­Inflicting or permitting physical pain or mental suffering ­Or permitting the endangerment of the child's person or health

28 Emotional Abuse Includes acts or omissions that have or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders In some cases, the acts alone, without any obvious harm are sufficient to warrant reporting ­i.e. extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as torture or confinement of a child in a dark closet For less severe acts, such as belittling or cruel words, it can be more difficult to determine what constitutes emotional abuse ­For the mandated reporter, reporting the concern is the only requirement ­It is up to the child protective agency to decide if the act(s) in question are emotional abuse

29 Emotional Abuse Most difficult form of child maltreatment to identify ­The effects of emotional maltreatment (lags in physical development, learning problems, and speech disorder) are nonspecific ­The effects of emotional maltreatment may only become evident in later developmental stages of the child's life ­The behaviors of emotionally abused and emotionally disturbed children are often similar

30 Emotional Abuse Although any of the forms of child maltreatment may be found alone, they often occur in combination ­Emotional abuse is most often seen in combination with other forms of abuse ­The red flags for emotional abuse are very similar to the red flags for other forms of abuse

31 Red Flags – Child Behaviors Hostile, aggressive, or verbally abusive toward others Anxious, fearful or withdrawn behavior Self-injurious ­self-mutilates, bangs head, etc. Destructive ­breaks windows, sets fires, etc. Frightened of going home, frightened of parents/caretakers Attempts to hide injuries Frequent absence from school Clingy, forms indiscriminate attachments Tries to be perfect

32 Red Flags – Child Behaviors Sexual Abuse: ­Inappropriate sexual knowledge for age ­Demonstrating sexual acts on other children or toys ­Molesting other children ­Post-traumatic stress disorder ­Sexually transmitted infections Neglect: ­Dirty clothes, poor hygiene ­Failure to thrive, or a malnourished child ­Severe dental cavities

33 Red Flags – Home environment Neglect: ­Medications, cleaners, toxins within reach of a child ­Guns or other weapons that are not properly secured ­Trash, rotted food, insects, or animal waste ­Choking hazards within reach of an infant or toddler

34 Red Flags – Parent Behaviors Parental depression or other mental illness Parent tells you of use of objects to discipline the child ­belts, whips, clothes hanger Parent has unrealistic expectation of child ­toilet-training a 6-month-old Parent is unduly harsh and rigid about childrearing Parent singles out one child as "bad," "evil," or "beyond control" Parent berates, humiliates, or belittles child Parent misinterprets child's normal behavior ­a parent interprets an infant's crying as evidence that child hates the parent Parent is indifferent to child

35 Red Flags – Stressors on Parents / Contributing Factors Domestic violence Unemployment Poverty Lack of social support History of abuse as a child Substance abuse

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38 When should I file a report? When one "has knowledge of or observes a child in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse..." If you suspect, report. ­Proof of abuse is not required; that will be determined through investigation by the child welfare professionals or law enforcement

39 Who files the report? Responsibility rests solely with the mandated reporter Reporting to an employer, supervisor, school principal, school counselor, coworker, or other person is NOT required nor adequate. When two or more mandated reporters jointly have knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect, a single report may be made ­Any member of the reporting team who has knowledge that the designated person has failed to report must do so him or herself

40 To Whom do I report? To a child protective agency ­ “Child protective agency” is defined as a county welfare or probation department, or a police or sheriff’s department ­ An example of a child protective agency is your local office of the Department of Children and Family Services ­ The only types of law enforcement agency you may report to are the Sheriff’s or Police Department in your community >Other law enforcement persons, such as school security, are not authorized to receive reports County CWS numbers in packet

41 How do I report Complete the SCAR (Suspected Child Abuse Report) Immediately call CWS Then submit the report: ­Within 36 hours a written report must be sent to the child protective or law enforcement agency to which the telephone report was made

42 8572 Reporting Party’s information Name Date Address Phone

43 8572 Information of person taking report Name Phone Title Address Date

44 8572 Victim’s Information Name DOB Address School Present location Language

45 8572 Involved Parties Siblings Parents Suspects

46 8572 Incident Information What happened? What is the concern for abuse?

47 mom child (Child’s dad) child’s child Mom child mom Mom mom child Mom child’s child

48 What Happens After a Report? The primary purpose of the report is to make child protective agencies aware of possible abuse Reports are investigated either by the local law enforcement agency and/or by the county child welfare (child protective services) agency

49 Child Welfare Services Interviews the child and family to evaluate the situation ­Primary responsibility is protection of the child ­The child may need to be removed and placed in a safer environment or the family may just need additional services Often, parents or others who mistreat children are overwhelmed by their situation/problems ­Financial problems, mental illness, anger issues, etc. ­May not be able to handle the stresses of raising children without help CWS offers services and resources to help manage the problems of the family and child ­Counseling, referrals to self-help groups ; assistance in obtaining medical care, emergency shelter, transportation

50 Child Welfare Services The CWS worker's goal is to protect children and enable families to stay together whenever possible Reports received (except neglect) must be cross- reported immediately, or as soon as possible, to local law enforcement agency Not all reports are serious enough to require the assistance of the law enforcement agency ­In these events, the family may be contacted only by local child welfare services

51 What Happens Next? The report is determined to be one of the following ­Unfounded - the report is determined to be false, inherently improbable, to involve an accidental injury, or not to constitute child abuse ­Substantiated - the report is determined to constitute child abuse or neglect ­Inconclusive - the report is determined not to be unfounded, but the findings are inconclusive and there is insufficient evidence to determine whether child abuse or neglect has occurred

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53 SLO County Department of Social Services Intake & Community Response Structure Reporting Party Calls in (805) 781-KIDS Reporting Party Calls in (805) 781-KIDS CWS Intake  Review  Evaluate  Determine Face-To-Face Response Path CWS Intake  Review  Evaluate  Determine Face-To-Face Response Path CWS Response (24 hr response) High to Very High Risk CWS Response (24 hr response) High to Very High Risk CWS & CAP-SLO Family Support Services (10 day response) Moderate to High Risk CWS & CAP-SLO Family Support Services (10 day response) Moderate to High Risk CAP-SLO Family Support Services (10 day response ) NO known safety issues Low Risk CAP-SLO Family Support Services (10 day response ) NO known safety issues Low Risk Request Feedback ( Mandated Reporters only) OR Team Decision Making Request Feedback ( Mandated Reporters only) OR Team Decision Making

54 Confidentiality Mandated reporters are required to give their names when making a report The reporter's identity is kept confidential and may only be disclosed as follows: ­Between child protective agencies ­To counsel representing a child protective agency ­To the district attorney ­To the child's attorney ­To a licensing agency when abuse in out-of-home care is reasonably suspected ­By court order ­When the reporter waives confidentiality Safeguards for Mandated Reporters

55 Confidentiality Reports of suspected child abuse and the information they contain are also confidential ­May only be disclosed to official agencies and professionals involved in the investigation, treatment, prosecution, or record-keeping of these cases ­Any violation of confidentiality of this information is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail, or by a fine of $500, or by both

56 Safeguards for Mandated Reporters Immunity Mandated Reporters have immunity from criminal or civil liability for reporting as required ­Unless the report is proven to be false and the person reporting knows it is false ­Or the report is made with reckless disregard of the truth Mandated reporters are not liable civilly or criminally for photographing the victim of child abuse and disseminating the photograph with the report

57 Failure to Report Misdemeanor, punishable by ­Up to six months in jail ­Up to a $1,000 fine May also be subject to a civil lawsuit, and found liable for damages, especially if the child-victim or another child is further victimized because of the failure to report No supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit a report or subject the reporting person to any sanction ­to do so is punishable by imprisonment, a fine, or both

58 Employer’s Responsibilities Any person entering employment that makes him or her a mandated reporter must sign a statement that he or she has knowledge of the reporting law and will comply with its requirements ­Statement must be provided and retained by the employer A form for this statement is available from your local child protective agency Licensing Requirement The state agency issuing a license to a person who is required to report child abuse must either send a statement to the licensee explaining reporting requirements and the penalty for failure to report, or print the information on all application forms

59 Conclusion Primary intent of the reporting laws is to protect the child Protecting the identified child may also provide the opportunity to protect other children in the home It is equally important to provide help for the parents The report of abuse may be a catalyst for bringing about change in the home environment, which may help to lower the risk of abuse in the home As a mandated reporter you play an obviously crucial role in this process, identifying and reporting concerns of abuse or neglect of children that may otherwise go unseen

60 Mandated Reporter Training Objectives 1.How the law defines child abuse and neglect 2.What is a Mandated Reporter? What is required of you as a Mandated Reporter? 3.What protections the law provides for you as a mandated reporter 4.How to identify signs of child abuse. 5.Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Procedure 6.What happens after a report is filed. 7.Special Concerns


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