When a child comes to school (or church or youth group or anywhere kids are present), they are generally surrounded by mandated reporters who are required by law to report suspected abuse or neglect to the state’s Protective Services program. This requirement poses many dilemmas for teachers, clergy, police departments, and for many mandated reporters.
Often, we face the dilemma of knowing that, if we report, there may or may not be an appropriate response from protective services. We may suspect that the child could end up subjected to even more abuse because we reported. We may feel we are endangering ourselves by reporting. We may find ourselves wanting to report abuse or neglect when an opportunity arises simply to gain access for the child to more services. The dilemmas are endless. When a child arrives from home with bruises, cuts, welts, or worse, we need to know what to do.
This short workshop reviews state reporting requirements briefly, spending more time in discussion of the fine points of actually making a decision to report. We’ll discuss what sorts of indicators one may see in an abused or neglected child. We’ll also discuss what sorts of instances do not require reporting, and some of the possible results of both over-reporting and under-reporting. This workshop is appropriate for educators, paraprofessionals, police, clergy, and any mandated reporter.