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Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

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Presentation on theme: "Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect"— Presentation transcript:

1 Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
Taron Brown Davis, JD Children’s Law Office University of South Carolina School of Law

2 Mandatory Reporters Doctors Nurses Dentists Optometrists EMT’s
Mental Health Allied Health Clergy Teachers Counselors Principals (and assistants) Social Workers Substance Abuse Counselors Childcare Workers Foster Care Workers Police Undertakers (and staff) Funeral Directors (and staff) Film Processors Computer Technicians Judges

3 Child Abuse and Neglect Defined
It is abuse or neglect when a child is injured by the intentional acts or omissions of an adult DSS gets involved in child abuse and neglect cases that involve a parent or guardian as the perpetrator

4 Child Abuse and Neglect Defined
Physical or mental injury Excessive corporal punishment Sexual offenses Failure to supply food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care Abandonment Encouraging delinquency Substantial risk of abuse or neglect

5 Physical Injury (Physical Abuse)
Death Permanent or temporary disfigurement Impairment of any bodily organ or function

6 Mental Injury Injury to intellectual, emotional, psychological capacity or functioning Existence of the impairment must be supported by expert opinion(in court)

7 Corporal Punishment Corporal punishment may be administered as a method of discipline provided that it is: - administered by a parent or guardian - for the sole purpose of restraining or correcting the child - is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree - has not brought about permanent or lasting damage to the child - and is not reckless or grossly negligent

8 Sexual Abuse If defined as a sexual offense according to the criminal laws of South Carolina

9 Neglect Failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care, though financially capable of doing so

10 Abandonment Willfully deserting or surrendering a child
And failing to make adequate arrangements for the child’s needs

11 When to Report Reason to believe:
- child’s physical or mental health or welfare - has been or may be adversely affected - by abuse or neglect And this information is received in your professional capacity

12 Reason to Believe Law requires report to be made when there is “reason to believe” Does not require the reporter to have conclusive proof Does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt Information must be such that a reasonable person would rely upon it, including hearsay

13 Where to Report To the county DSS office or To law enforcement
To the coroner(child death) In the county where the child lives or is found

14 Confidentiality DSS and law enforcement must keep the identity of the reporter confidential May share the name of the reporter with each other to further their investigations Reporter may also be required to testify

15 Immunity from Liability
Reporters are immune from civil and criminal liability for reporting child abuse and neglect in good faith Law presumes that child abuse and neglect reports are made in good faith

16 Failure to Report A person who is required to report child abuse and neglect and who fails to do so has committed a crime - punishable by $500 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment

17 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting
Reason to believe Information received in your professional capacity You must report(can no longer cause a report to be made)

18 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: responding to the child
Listen attentively Do not probe for details Do not remove clothing Do not indicate disbelief, shock, or anger Explain actions you will take Do not give false assurances

19 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: making the report
As soon as possible Do not assume the role of CPS investigator Do not wait for proof Providing name is preferred Follow organizational procedures You are individually required to report

20 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: information sharing
Child’s name Age and date of birth Address Present location Names and ages of siblings Parents names and addresses Reasons for concerns Any known history of violence in the home

21 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: documentation
Document the basis for your concern, including the physical and behavioral signs Document the child’s statements to you, use the child’s words Record the child’s demeanor Record the date and agency individual to whom you spoke

22 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: dealing with parents
It is best not to contact parents about your suspicions before making a report Never accuse a parent of wrongdoing If necessary, explain that you are legally responsible to report

23 Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: follow-up
Provide additional information Be available to testify Participate in multidisciplinary teams to make recommendations for the child

24 Processing the Report Within the Child Welfare System
Emergency Protective Custody Intake and Investigation Case Determinations In-home treatment Cases Family Court Cases

25 Emergency Protective Custody
Sometimes when abuse or neglect is reported it results in the child being taken into emergency protective custody (EPC)

26 Standard for Taking Emergency Protective Custody
Child’s life, health, or physical safety must be in imminent and substantial danger as determined by a law enforcement officer or a judge

27 After EPC The law requires DSS to make an effort to place the child with family or some other familiar environment (if appropriate) Most children are placed in foster care or a shelter There is a probable cause hearing within 72 hours of the EPC

28 Intake and Investigation
DSS may accept a report or decline investigating a report However, DSS keeps a record of all reports

29 Investigation Must commence within 24 hours of the agency accepting the report DSS checks for previous reports DSS must report sexual abuse to law enforcement within 24 hours Other violations of the criminal law must be referred to law enforcement

30 Investigation DSS notifies the parent or guardian
May interview the child outside the parent’s presence May inspect school, medical, or other records Family preservation and reunification when appropriate

31 Case Determination DSS has 45 days to complete the investigation
Will determine whether the report should be indicated or unfounded

32 Indicated Report DSS believes that a preponderance of evidence supports a finding of abuse or neglect

33 Unfounded Report DSS does not believe there is a preponderance of evidence to support a finding of abuse or neglect

34 In-home Treatment Cases
DSS may, in its discretion, offer services to a family without court involvement

35 Family Court Cases Two Categories - Intervention - Removal

36 Intervention Cases The family court orders the parents to cooperate with services Child remains in the home Case may periodically be reviewed by the court

37 Removal Cases The family court orders the parents to cooperate with services The child is removed from the parents’ home Case will be reviewed periodically until the child is in a permanent home May result in termination of parental rights

38 Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect
A perpetrator’s name must be entered if there is a finding of: - physical abuse - sexual abuse - willful or reckless neglect

39 Final Thoughts about Mandatory Reporting
Must report if you have “reason to believe” Do not worry about retaliation Presumption that reports are made in good faith DSS and law enforcement must keep your identity confidential

40 Children’s Law Office 1600 Hampton Street Suite 502
Columbia, South Carolina 29208 (803)

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