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CLERGY AS MANDATORY REPORTERS WEBINAR -- APRIL 12, 2012 Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan, Colorado Council of Churches Becky Miller Updike, Office of Colorado’s Child.

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Presentation on theme: "CLERGY AS MANDATORY REPORTERS WEBINAR -- APRIL 12, 2012 Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan, Colorado Council of Churches Becky Miller Updike, Office of Colorado’s Child."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLERGY AS MANDATORY REPORTERS WEBINAR -- APRIL 12, 2012 Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan, Colorado Council of Churches Becky Miller Updike, Office of Colorado’s Child Abuse Prevention Ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte, Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Colorado Council of Churches

2 Colorado Council of Churches Living in Unity, Working for Justice  Twelve denominations come together to live in unity and work for justice.  The individual denominations do not relate to the C.C.C. The Colorado Council of Churches serves as the avenue which enables the individual denominations to relate to each other.  The Colorado Council of Churches is not itself the Body of Christ: rather it enables the member denominations to come together to be a fuller expression and a more powerful witness of the Body of Christ than any one denomination can be by itself. 

3 Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman  An Ombudsman is an independent, unbiased and trusted intermediary between the public and some entity. In this case, the entity is child protection.  The Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman has the power and duty to facilitate a process of independent, impartial review of family and community concerns; request independent, accurate information and to conduct case reviews to help resolve child protection issues and overall systemic issues.  The Ombudsman is not set up to directly respond to emergencies regarding child safety. If a child is in danger, always call law enforcement or your local Department of Human Services.  OCCPO cannot investigate or overturn the acts or decisions of courts, judges, or their staff.  OCCPO cannot provide legal advice.

4 Toll Free: SAFEKIDS Direct: (303)

5 Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center  Founded in 1981  The Children’s Law Center provides legal representation for more than 1,500 abused and neglected children each year.  The mission of the Children’s Law Center is to change the lives of abused and neglected children through compassionate legal advocacy, education and public policy reform.  www. childlawcenter.org

6 What Are Mandatory Reporting Laws? Mandatory reporting laws impose special obligations and responsibilities on a wide range of professions and occupations to report child abuse or neglect.

7 Why Are There Mandatory Reporting Requirements?  Law recognizes that many professionals develop trusting relationships with children and are likely to obtain personal information from the child in that context  Law wants to protect children from abuse by mandating professionals to report these incidents  Law wants to ensure that abuse reports are given immediate attention and consistent response from law enforcement/human service professionals

8 Who Must Report Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect?  There are 35 different categories of professionals who must report suspected child abuse and neglect.  Includes but is not limited to:  Physicians, dentists, optometrist, registered nurse  Public/ private school official or employee  Social Workers  Commercial film processors  Firefighters  Animal control officers

9 Who Must Report Suspected Abuse and Neglect?  This law includes “clergy members” (effective June 2002).  “Clergy Member” means “a priest, rabbi, duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church, member of a religious order, or recognized leader of any religious body.” C.R.S *Note: Any other person not listed may report known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

10 Exception to Clergy Reporting Requirement  Confidential Communications pursuant to privilege statute C.R.S (1)(c)  C.R.S is a testimonial privilege only. It allows an individual the right not to testify in court about a specified communication  A clergy member, minister, priest, or rabbi shall not be examined without both his or her consent and also the consent of the person making the confidential communication as to any confidential communication made to him or her in his or her professional capacity in the course of discipline expected by the religious body to which he or she belongs.

11 What does this Exception Mean?  Exception to Clergy as Mandatory Reporters only applies to:  Direct communications between clergy/member  Communications occurring in a professional context  Communications otherwise protected by C.R.S are not obligated to be reported UNLESS there are other sources of information which cause reasonable suspicion of abuse  Communications MAY still be reported  Clergy are mandatory reporters if:  Clergy member status does not in itself bar all communications. Examples: Coach, mentor, teacher, disclosure by a child/third party.

12 What Does the Law Require?  A person who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect OR  Who has observed the child being subjected to circumstances or conditions which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect  Shall immediately upon receiving such information report or cause a report to be made of such fact to the county department or local law enforcement agency.” C.R.S

13 Definitions  Child: C.R.S (18) defines “child” as a person under eighteen years of age.  Reasonable Cause: Being in accordance with reason Not extreme or excessive Moderate/Fair Having the faculty of reason Possessing sound judgment

14 Exceptions to Reporting Abuse/Neglect  If mandatory reporter learns of abuse/neglect after victims turns 18 years old AND does not have reasonable cause to know or suspect that the perpetrator of the abuse/neglect;  Has subjected any other child under 18 to abuse/neglect; OR  Is currently in a position of trust with regard to any other child currently under 18 years old;

15 What is Child Abuse and Neglect? “Abuse” or “child abuse or neglect” means an act or omission in one of seven categories that threatens the health or welfare of a child.” C.R.S

16 Method of Injury/Neglect Three ways to cause Physical Injury and General Neglect  A person commits child abuse if such person causes an injury to a child’s life or health  Permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health  Engages in a continued pattern of conduct that results in malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, cruel punishment, mistreatment, or an accumulation of injuries that ultimately results in the death of a child or serious bodily injury to a child.” C.R.S (1)(a)

17 Seven Categories of Abuse/Neglect  Physical Injury  Unlawful Sexual Behaviors Against Children  Neglect  Emotional Abuse  Neglected or Dependent Child  Manufacture/Attempted Manufacture of Controlled Substance in presence of a Child  Child Positive for Controlled Substance at Birth

18 Category One: Physical Injury  Bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, bone fractures, subdural hematoma, tissue swelling, or death  Such condition or death is not justifiably explained  The history given concerning such condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death  The circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an accidental occurrence. C.R.S (1)(a)(I)

19 Category Two: Unlawful Sexual Behavior Against Children  Any case in which a child is subjected to unlawful sexual behavior as defined in C.R.S (no statute of limitations per C.R.S ) Includes:  Unlawful Sexual Contact, C.R.S  Sexual Assault, C.R.S  Sexual Assault on a Child, C.R.S

20 Category Two: Unlawful Sexual Behavior Against Children  Sexual Assault on a Child/Position of Trust, C.R.S  Sexual Exploitation of a Child, C.R.S  Procurement of a child, C.R.S  Keeping a place of child prostitution, C.R.S  Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation, C.R.S

21 Category Two: Unlawful Sexual Behavior Against Children  Patronizing a child prostitute, C.R.S  Soliciting for Child Prostitution, C.R.S  Pandering of a child, C.R.S  Pimping of a child, C.R.S  Inducement of child prostitution, C.R.S

22 Category Two: Unlawful Sexual Behavior Against Children  Trafficking in children, C.R.S  Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist, C.R.S  Incest, C.R.S  Aggravated Incest, C.R.S  Indecent Exposure, C.R.S

23 Category Three: General Neglect of Basic Necessities of Life  Child is in need of adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision  Parents, legal guardian, or custodian fails to take the same actions to provide these necessities that a prudent parent would take.  Threatens the health or welfare of a child C.R.S (1)(a)(III)

24 Category Four: Emotional Abuse  An identifiable and substantial impairment of the child’s intellectual or psychological functioning or development OR  A substantial risk of impairment of the child’s intellectual or psychological functioning or development.” C.R.S. Section (1)(a)(IV)

25 Category Five: Dependent/Neglected Child Under Juvenile Court Proceeding  Abandonment, Mistreatment/Abuse, Allowing another to Mistreat/Abuse a Child  Injurious Environment  Failure to provide life necessities  Homeless Child  Child is run-away/Beyond Control of Parent  Child tests positive for controlled substance at birth C.R.S *Exception: Medical treatment by spiritual means not per se neglect unless court orders treatment per C.R.S and said order is ignored.

26 Category Six: Child in Presence of Controlled Substance  In presence of a child or on premises where child is found or resides  A controlled substance is manufactured or attempted to be manufactured  Schedule I, II Controlled Substances (Cocaine, Methamphetamine)

27 Category Seven: Child Tests Positive for Controlled Substance  Child tests positive at birth for schedule I, II controlled substance  Not applicable if mother has taken substance lawfully as prescribed by a physician

28 Review: Seven Categories of Abuse/Neglect  Physical Injury  Unlawful Sexual Behaviors Against Children  Neglect  Emotional Abuse  Neglected or Dependent Child  Manufacture/Attempted Manufacture of Controlled Substance in presence of a Child  Child Positive for Controlled Substance at Birth

29 Where to Report Child Abuse/Neglect? Colorado Law Requires a Report to:  Local Police Department  Local Health and Human Service Office  No Exceptions (not to supervisors, relatives of child or co-workers)

30 How Do I Make A Report ?  State you are mandated reporter  Questions you will be asked: Name, address, age, ethnicity and gender of child Name and address of person responsible Nature and extent of the child’s injuries Family composition of child/perpetrator Source of the report, with name, address, occupation Any action taken by the person reporting the abuse Any other information such as potential witnesses  Document the name of the worker, the date/time of your call and the information given.

31 What Happens After A Report is Made?  Your report is confidential by law  A screener will take your information and submit it to a supervisor who will do a risk assessment.  If your report is assigned to a caseworker, he/she must respond in the amount of time required by the assessment.  Once an investigation is in process, information generated by the case becomes confidential by law. As the reporting party, you will not be notified as to the outcome of the investigation  You may be contacted by a caseworker for further information.  Once the report has been made, it is not your responsibility to do any further investigation.

32 How do I Know What Happens with My Report?  In limited circumstances mandatory reporters can receive follow up information on their report (C.R.S )  A mandatory reporter may receive only the information he or she needs to know in order to fulfill his or her professional and official role in maintaining the child's safety  Information provided to mandatory reporters is confidential and cannot be disclosed by law

33 What is my Liability for Reporting?  Any person participating in good faith in the making of a report shall be immune from any civil and/or criminal liability

34 Penalties for Failure to Report Unlawful to:  Knowingly make a false report of abuse or neglect  Willfully fail to report when required to do so  Civil liability for damages proximately caused thereby. C.R.S (4)(a)  A class 3 misdemeanor is punishable by a minimum of a $50 fine up to six months imprisonment, or $750 fine, or both. C.R.S (1)

35 Questions?


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