Unit 1 Edit
According to NYS Social Services Law 413, mandated reporters are certain professionals who are required to report or cause a report to be made "when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child". They report only suspected abuse, not confirm it. Reports are sent to Child Protective Services (CPS). The goal is stop abuse/neglect as soon as possible and provide for rehab services for those involved.
In general, any professional who comes in contact with children in an official capacity is a mandated reporter; this includes teachers.
CPS components: Detection of abuse, emergency protective custody for those in danger, state central register to collect reports, verification/protection/rehab, and Family Court to take any further action.
When you file a report, Social Services follows up with an investigation within 24 hours as required by law. CPS may take the child into protective custody if needed and has 60 days to decide if a report is substantiated or not.
Unit 2 Edit
Certainty is not required to file a report. Even if a child says they were not abused, if their behavior patterns indicate as such, you are required to report.
A child is abused if their caregiver allows or causes physical/emotional harm or creates a substantial risk for harm.
"other than accidental": an accident under normal circumstances would not constitute abuse, e.g., a bike crash under normal circumstances would not constitute abuse.
"protracted": that the abuse is drawn out over a period of time.
"substantial risk": if the caregiver allows circumstances to occur that put the child in serious danger, this constitutes abuse.
It is abuse if the caregiver allows for physical harm to be inflicted or risks it.
Physical abuse may include burns or blows across various parts of the body or if these are allowed to happen. Allowance of risks of physical harm may also constitute abuse.
This does not mean you do not need to report if the injuries do not seem this serious. This is just to give you a sense of the kinds of things that are abuse. Remember, you do not need to be certain there is abuse; you only need to have reasonable cause to suspect that the child is being abused or maltreated. Also, as you will see below, even if the action does not cause serious injury, it may be abuse if it causes a risk of serious injury, or it may be neglect.
Indirect abuse includes cases where caretakers may subject children to unnecessary or harmful medical procedures and verbal attacks which cause stomach pains. You only need suspicion to report - trained officials will make the final decision on if there is abuse/neglect or not.
Neglect includes cases where a child has been abandoned, is in danger because the caregiver is not supplying care, food, clothing, shelter, education, or proper supervision, or if the child is emotionally impaired as a result of the caregiver failing to provide minimum care. It includes physical abuse, raising the child in unsanitary conditions, proper psychiatric or medical care, allowing them to miss school days, among others.
The definition of an "abused child" indicates that the abuse must come under the supervision of a parent or other person, including other teachers or school officials, legally responsible for his care in order for a mandated reporter to be required to act on it. Report any suspected misconduct to the Special Commissioner of Investigation, (212) 510-1400. Failure to do so may result in the loss of employment.
Unit 3 Edit
Since you are required to report suspicions of abuse, the law will not hold you liable for fulfilling your duty. If you report suspected abuse and further investigation does not substantiate it, you cannot get in trouble.
"Willful misconduct": You can get in trouble if you are deliberately making up your suspicion.
"Gross negligence": If there is no reason to suspect the abuse you are reporting, you can also be held responsible.
No one can see a report beyond the people who are directly concerned nor can anyone know who made the report. Law prohibits the release of the person's name who made the report.
Anyone who fails to report suspected abuse may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor ($1,000 fine/up to one year in prison) and is thus subject to any liability caused by the failure. CPS cannot act without a report.
Now that you are a mandated reporter, this obligation only applies in your "official capacity" as a teacher. If you are in church or at the grocery store and see signs that lead you to suspect abuse, you are not legally obligated in the same way as if you saw these signs in one of your students at school.
A mandated reporter has "reasonable cause" to report his/her suspicion of child abuse if there is evidence of an injury or condition that could reasonably have been caused by neglect or non-accidental means. The reporter need not be absolutely certain that the injury or condition was caused by neglect or non-accidental means.
Unit 4 Edit
Units 1-3 assessment.
Unit 5 Edit
Among physical indicators of abuse would be injuries that did not result from normal play, unexplained bruises or burns, fading bruises following an absence from school, and evidence of delayed or improper treatment for injuries.
Behavioral indicators include reports of injury from a caregiver, fear of parents/guardians, protests/cries when it is time to go home, arrives early/stays late to avoid going home, self-destructive behavior, or wearing clothing not weather-appropriate. For the parent, these would include they themselves being abused, harsh corporal discipline, negative descriptions of the child, and unconvincing or no explanation as to injuries.
Physical neglect can be indicated by consistent hunger, lice, distended stomachs, emaciated appearance, and signs of out-of-date medical/dental care. The child may be frequently absent from school, have weather-inappropriate clothing, begs/steals food or money, not practicing proper hygiene, fall asleep in class, extreme loneliness, or abusing drugs/alcohol. The parent seems indifferent to their child, depressed, irrational, or also abusing drugs/alcohol.
The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect defines child sexual assault as: "Contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person when the perpetrator or another person is in a position of power or control over the victim." Sexual abuse is any time that a child is engaged in a sexual situation with an older person. It can include actual physical contact, such as fondling or rape, but it also includes making a child watch sexual acts or pornography, using a child in any aspect of the production of pornography, or making a child look at an adult's genitals.
Physical indicators include trouble sitting or walking, torn/stained/bloody underwear, pain/swelling/itching in genitals, nightmares or bedwetting, a sudden change in appetite, major weight change, frequent urinary/yeast infection, pregnancy or an STD especially before age 14. A child may refuse to change for gym or participate in physical activity, be overly concerned for their siblings, have unusual sexual knowledge or demonstrate unusually sexually aggressive behavior, have poor relationships with peers, attempt suicide, or run away. The parent may be jealous and/or controlling of other family members, secretive, unduly protective, or severely limit contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex.
For emotional abuse, a child may have a speech disorder, lag in physical development, or fail to thrive. They may have obsessive habits or behaviors, behavioral extremes, and overly adaptive behavior. The parent may constantly belittle, blame, or berate the child, or potentially outright reject them.
Educational neglect can be indicated by infrequent school attendance or unexplained absences that are not the result of the student's desire to miss school.
Unit 6 Edit
If a student discloses to you that they are being abused, remember to be calm with the child, believe them, stress that it is not their fault, respect their privacy, be supportive and truthful, report immediately, and be an advocate.
Do NOT allow the student to feel at fault for the abuse, criticize the student, try to be the investigator and press the student, try to be a therapist, promise to keep it a secret, display your own emotions, nor tell the student what they are feeling.
Unit 7 Edit
If you have reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect:
- Report to Principal or Designee. Discuss your suspicions with the school child abuse team.
- Principal or Designee calls State Central Register: 1-800-635-1522 - mandated reporter express line, operated 24/7.
- Submit LDSS 2221 A form within 48 hours after the oral report to the field office in the borough in which the parent resides.
- Obtain a call ID number from the SCR. If the principal or designee does not provide you with the number within one school day, you are required to call in the report.
- Request findings of the case.
According to Chancellor's Regulation A-750 (as of 9/5/2000), a teacher discharges responsibilities by informing the principal, who is to call the hotline to report the incident, unless the principal refuses to call the hotline, in which case the teacher is required to do so. If you have suspicions that the right steps are not being followed, you can also proceed with calling the hotline. However, it is your obligation to first inform your principal. It's also your responsibility to follow up with the proper form.
Before calling the express line, obtain the following information:
- Has the child been harmed or is he at risk of harm?
- What is the role of the parent or person legally responsible?
- Is this an ongoing pattern?
- Where is the child now?
- Does the child have special needs or medications?
- Are there concerns for local child protective services, such as weapons?
Follow up on the call by filling out Form 2221. Include names and addresses of child/parent, age, gender, and race of the child, family makeup, subject of the report (the person suspected of abuse), source and where they can be reached, degree of urgency, student's DOE ID number, and any additional relevant information such as special ed status or any history of abuse.
Your responsibilities will be discharged to the local district, which will begin an investigation within 24 hours and have any determination within 60 days.
Unit 8 Edit
Units 5-7 assessment.
Unit 9 Edit
Unit 10 Edit