Recognizing and reporting_child_abuse_and_neglect

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3rd item for the MMLC teacher training requirements

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Recognizing and reporting_child_abuse_and_neglect

  1. 1. Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Taron Brown Davis, JD Children’s Law Office University of South Carolina School of Law
  2. 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. 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. 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. 5. Physical Injury (Physical Abuse)  Death  Permanent or temporary disfigurement  Impairment of any bodily organ or function
  6. 6. Mental Injury  Injury to intellectual, emotional, psychological capacity or functioning  Existence of the impairment must be supported by expert opinion(in court)
  7. 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. 8. Sexual Abuse  If defined as a sexual offense according to the criminal laws of South Carolina
  9. 9. Neglect  Failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care, though financially capable of doing so
  10. 10. Abandonment  Willfully deserting or surrendering a child  And failing to make adequate arrangements for the child’s needs
  11. 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. 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. 13. Where to Report  To the county DSS office or  To law enforcement or  To the coroner(child death) In the county where the child lives or is found
  14. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 23. Nuts and Bolts of Reporting: followup  Provide additional information  Be available to testify  Participate in multidisciplinary teams to make recommendations for the child
  24. 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. 25. Emergency Protective Custody  Sometimes when abuse or neglect is reported it results in the child being taken into emergency protective custody (EPC)
  26. 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. 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. 28. Intake and Investigation  DSS may accept a report or decline investigating a report  However, DSS keeps a record of all reports
  29. 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. 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. 31. Case Determination  DSS has 45 days to complete the investigation  Will determine whether the report should be indicated or unfounded
  32. 32. Indicated Report  DSS believes that a preponderance of evidence supports a finding of abuse or neglect
  33. 33. Unfounded Report  DSS does not believe there is a preponderance of evidence to support a finding of abuse or neglect
  34. 34. In-home Treatment Cases  DSS may, in its discretion, offer services to a family without court involvement
  35. 35. Family Court Cases  Two Categories - Intervention - Removal
  36. 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. 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. 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. 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. 40. Children’s Law Office 1600 Hampton Street Suite 502 Columbia, South Carolina 29208 (803)777-1646 http://childlaw.sc.edu

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