Presentation on theme: "Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Florida Department of Children and Families."— Presentation transcript:
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Florida Department of Children and Families
Florida Abuse Hotline DCF MISSION: Protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self- sufficient families and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency. HOTLINE MISSION: Help protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, abandonment and exploitation.
Where is the Florida Abuse Hotline located? The Florida Abuse Hotline is a centralized, call center located in the city of Tallahassee. 1317 Winewood Blvd Buildings 5/6 Tallahassee, FL 32399 Website: http://www.floridaabusehotline.com Winewood Pond
Hotline Operations Availability 24 / 7 / 365 Staffing Over 200 employees Peak call volume = 10am to 3pm Important Stats Approximately 433,000 total contacts per year 71.4% of calls answered resulted in a report 81.4% of reports accepted involved children 49.16% of calls received were from professionally mandated reporters
Services provided by the Florida Abuse Hotline Assess calls for Child abuse, neglect and abandonment Assess calls for Adult abuse, neglect and exploitation Provide information and community referrals Partner with DCF investigative staff, law enforcement, and others by providing accurate, timely, and comprehensive documentation.
Who must report abuse? Any person who has knowledge of or suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult is required to report. Professionally mandated reporters include, but not limited to: Medical Staff Mental health professionals Clergy Law Enforcement School Personnel Post Secondary Institutions Facility Staff Judge/Court Personnel
Confidentiality All reports are confidential. Access to these reports are limited by specific criteria in Chapters 39 and 415 of the Florida Statutes (F.S.). Hotline Counselors will not acknowledge the existence of any report, will not acknowledge that they have previously spoken to a particular caller, nor will they release any information provided by a caller or any information contained in a report. Any person with a statutory right to a report copy must contact the local investigative office.
Penalties related to reporting child abuse A person who is required to report and knowingly and willfully fails to do so or prevents another person from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor of first degree. (Oct.1, 2012 = felony of third degree) A person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report of child abuse or advises another to make a false report, is guilty of a felony of the third degree.(Oct.1, 2012 = felony of second degree)
Penalties related to reporting child abuse Any Florida College System institution, state university, or nonpublic college, university, or school, as defined in s.1000.21 or s.1005.02, whose administrators knowingly and willfully, upon receiving information from faculty, staff, or other institution employees, fail to report known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect committed on the property of the university, college, or school, or during an event or function sponsored by the university, college, or school, or who knowingly and willfully prevent another person from doing so, shall be subject to fines of $1 million for each such failure.
Non-reports of child abuse A professional who is hired by or enters into a contract with the department for the purpose of treating or counseling any person, as a result of a report of child abuse is not required to again report to the Hotline An officer or employee of the judicial branch is not required to again provide notice of child abuse when the child is currently being investigated by the department, there is an existing dependency case or the matter was previously reported to the department
Immunity and abrogation in cases involving child abuse Immunity: Any person, official, or institution reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability. Abrogation: Privileged communication between husband and wife, any professional person and patient/client and any other privileged communication except that between attorney and client or clergy and “confidential” person, shall not apply to any communication involving the perpetrator in any situation of child abuse and shall not constitute grounds for failure to report as required regardless of the source of the information, failure to cooperate with law enforcement or give evidence in any judicial proceedings.
What is needed for a report to be accepted? Jurisdiction is defined in Chapters 39 and 415 of the Florida Statutes. Victim Alleged Perpetrator Means to locate in Florida Significant level of harm
Is the victim a child? Child must be: Born Under the age of 18 Has not been emancipated by order of the court Unmarried
Is the perpetrator a caregiver? The alleged perpetrator of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment must be: Parent Legal custodian Adult household member Or other person responsible for the child’s welfare
Is the child a Florida resident? The child victim must be: A Florida resident, and can be located in Florida or is temporarily out of the state. Not a resident of Florida, but the incident of harm occurred in Florida and the victim and alleged perpetrator are currently in Florida. Not a resident of Florida, and the incident of harm occurred outside of Florida, or in Florida in the past, and there is cause to believe harm will reoccur or continue while the victim and alleged perpetrator are currently in Florida.
What is abuse? Means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. FS 39.01(2)
Possible indicators of abuse Burns Bone Fractures Asphyxiation Physical Injuries Internal Injuries Bizarre Punishment Mental Injuries Sexual Abuse Human Trafficking Death
What is neglect? Occurs when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of, necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired. FS 39.01(44)
Possible indicators of neglect Substance Misuse Inadequate Supervision Abandonment Environmental Hazards Malnutrition/Dehydration Failure to Thrive Medical Neglect Failure to Protect Family Violence Threatened Harm
What is abandonment? "Abandoned" or "abandonment" means a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, makes no provision for the child's support and has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child.
What are some other types of reports accepted by the Hotline? Foster Care Referral Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse Caregiver Unavailable Parent in Need of Assistance
How to make a report? Telephone 1-800-962-2873 TDD 1-800-453-5145 Fax 1-800-914-0004 Web http://www.dcf.state.fl.us /abuse/report/
How is the call processed? Greet and listen to concerns Gather required information Demographics, who, what, when, where, why, severity Determine jurisdiction Victim, Caregiver, Location and Harm Ask probing questions Review prior history to assist with screening decision Inform caller of report acceptance or provide referrals Document complete call information Criminal history checks completed for all investigations
What happens next? The investigator has 24 hours to make a face to face contact with the victim. In serious situations involving imminent danger, the investigator will response as soon as possible. The investigator will also contact the reporter if they leave their name. The investigator will also contact the family and other people who know the victim and family.
What are some possible investigative outcomes? No findings: The family does not need services or the investigator makes a referral to services without oversight. Not substantiated findings: The family may need some services and the investigator makes a referral to the local community based cares agency. Verified findings: The family needs court intervention and the investigator files a petition with the courts. Sheltering a child: The investigator determines the child victim cannot safely remain in the home, removes the child victim from the home and files a petition with the court.