Child neglect 4
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  • Welcome to Module IV of Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: What School Personnel Need to Do . In this module, we will examine what happens after reporting potential child abuse and neglect. Before proceeding with this module, you may want to consider revisiting the policy requirements summary at the close of Module I, the what to look for summary at the close of Module II, and the how to make a report summary at the close of Module III as a refresher. Module IV is designed to provide you with information regarding the investigation process after a report of potential abuse and neglect has been made. For the purpose of this module, you will be directed to handouts five and eleven which you may want to print out prior to proceeding with this module. You may find these handouts by clicking on the handouts link.
  • The Department of Children and Families has two investigative entities that respond to calls related to abuse and neglect. If suspected abuse or neglect is believed to have happened in the child’s home , the DYFS “Local Office” will conduct the investigation. If there is suspected abuse concerning a school staff person or other out-of-home care-giver, the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit or IAIU, will investigate. In either case, a report directly to the Hotline will allow the screener to determine, based on the information provided, whether the information should go to DYFS or IAIU.
  • Remember, your call to the Hotline is based on a suspicion that may not necessarily rise to the level of investigation by the Department of Children and Families. Once the screener has received your information and other factors including other information known to the agency about the potential perpetrator or victim, statutory guidelines or agency protocol, he/she will make a determination regarding the action to be taken.
  • Outside of an investigation, there are other potential outcomes that a call to the Hotline can trigger. First, it may fall under the purview of the school and require that school policy be enforced to remedy the issue. This will be especially true in cases regarding student absence or educational neglect. Second, law enforcement may become involved for prosecutorial purposes. And finally, the Department of Children and Families or other identified agencies may be called upon to provide much needed services to the family that could essentially remedy the issue that precipitated the initial call. Handout # 5 contains an extensive list of the many services and resources that may be available to children and their parents .
  • The Department of Children and Families has information and knowledge about other resources that could be used to provide supports to families. If the screener indicates that the information will be referred for Child Welfare Services (CWS), the case will be forwarded to the local DYFS office and services will be offered to the family- which they can either accept or refuse. If DYFS deems appropriate, other entities may be contacted to provide supports. Next we will provide you with an example of a call that would trigger CWS intervention.
  • Note- in this example, we illustrate what a possible outcome might be. However , the confidential information about the family is typically not directly disclosed to the person initiating the call but may be shared with the school under certain circumstances to provide in-school support. Since each case is different, this is the most specific we can be about the sharing of information. In other cases, depending on the circumstances, the screener may simply provide useful information directly to the caller which can immediately help the child’s situation.
  • If your call warrants an investigation, there are a few things that you should know: First, you should know that the information that is received related to a report is highly confidential. You should not insist on obtaining such information from a DYFS or IAIU investigator as they may be unable to share it with you. Second, the investigator may need to obtain clarifying information from the reporter to strengthen the investigative process which may require additional discussion with the person that made the original report. Third, if you provided your name when making the report, you will have an opportunity to provide additional information that you may not have had when you made the initial report by contacting the assigned investigator (and/or Hotline). Remember, a follow-up to the investigator should always be related to the original issue of suspected abuse or neglect and must be reported to the assigned investigator. Any new concerns not related to the original incident or suspicion must be reported to the Hotline. Finally, there may be times when the reporter is entitled to receive “feedback” regarding the original report. However, because as we stated earlier, information related to reports of suspected abuse and neglect is highly confidential, there may be information that is not disclosed to the reporter. When the information is needed in connection with the provision of care, treatment, assessment, evaluation or supervision to such child or such parent, guardian, resource family parent or other person and the provision of information is in the best interest of the child as determined by the Division of Youth and Family Services in accordance with NJSA 9:6-8.10, it may be provided to the reporter or other school staff. Though not explicitly stated, “or other person” would apply to school personnel on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
  • DYFS investigators are formally trained in targeted interviewing techniques that allow them to elicit comments from children. Their primary concern is to create an environment that is conducive to the child disclosing pertinent information and one that is non-threatening to the child. This may, in some cases, require that a school staff member be present to provide some level of comfort and reassurance to the child, however, any appearance of influence, intimidation or interference could result in the investigator excusing the staff person from participating in the interview. It is important that you consider the expertise of the investigator in determining the best course for interviewing the child. Also, because of the dual reporting requirement, it is important that you ensure that you inform the first responder of any other agency that was contacted regarding the potential abuse/neglect situation.
  • After a call has been made to the Hotline, it is important that you do not compromise the investigation by conducting one on your own. Please do not attempt to delve deeper into the potential abuse/neglect situation… just allow the investigator to conduct the investigation. There may be factors that are germane to the issue that you are unaware of, and may be central to the type and style of interviewing that will be done. It is important that children do not feel ostracized because of their victimization. In Handout # 11 , “How Schools May Respond to a Child Who Reports Abuse,” you will see methods for appropriately supporting a child who is distraught or who is undergoing an investigation on his/her behalf. It is important to observe these points, therefore we urge you to become familiar with these strategies and methods.
  • Just as any other victim of a crime, children have rights regarding this process. If a student is uncomfortable being interviewed alone, he/she may request a familiar staff person to be present. Conversely, if the student prefers to be interviewed alone, he/she may request to be interviewed without the presence of a staff member. If the student prefers to communicate in his/her primary language, accommodations will be made to ensure such communication. NOTE: Other students that are not the alleged victim may be interviewed by the investigator without parental consent.
  • An investigation by the Department of Children and Families can yield two possible outcomes: Unfounded and Substantiated. Here are the definitions used …. {pause}… A Finding is made from the analysis of statements from sources interviewed,… medical, police and other documentations and when known, the past history of the child, alleged perpetrator and/or facility.
  • In certain circumstances, the involvement of the County Prosecutor may be warranted. This would happen in six potential scenarios: The death of a child, sexual abuse by a parent or caregiver, injury or condition resulting in emergency room treatment or hospitalization, an injury or condition requiring more than superficial medical treatment (i.e. a broken bone at physician’s office), repeated violence committed against a child or substantially depriving a child of care over a period of time, and/or abandonment of a child. In most of these instances, the County Prosecutor would be contacted by DYFS or IAIU. However, only some injuries or conditions resulting in emergency room treatments may result in the Prosecutor being contacted. These are all potential civil court cases.
  • Once the Department of Children and Families has concluded the investigation, here is what the possible outcomes may include. If IAIU conducted the investigation , they did so because the allegation of abuse or neglect concerned a school district employee, volunteer or intern. With IAIU involvement, the district Superintendent is notified of the finding, regardless of whether it is Substantiated or Unfounded. The County Superintendent is also notified. Both the parent of the victim and the alleged perpetrator are notified. Law enforcement may be notified, if they were actively involved in the investigation or if the victim’s family is seeking to press charges. If the DYFS Local Office conducted the investigation, the District Superintendent and others are NOT notified. It is only on a case-by-case and a person-by-person “need to know” basis.
  • When DYFS places a child in an out-of-home placement (such as a treatment home or a resource family home) in another district, the DYFS caseworker is responsible to communicate with the respective school districts and/or district liaison, the information needed to effect a timely transfer of student records and guide the new placement in registering the child in the new school district.
  • As indicated, any information regarding reported allegations that identify a school district employee, volunteer or intern of potentially abusing or neglecting a child shall be considered confidential and may be disclosed only as required by court order or to cooperate in an investigation. For the purpose of security and confidentiality, records pertaining to school district employees, volunteers or interns named in an abuse or neglect case, shall be maintained in a secure location separate from other employee personnel records and accessible only to the school district chief school administrator or his or her designee.
  • In the event a finding concerning an employee, volunteer or intern is Unfounded, the information must be removed from the record immediately.
  • Here are the rights that school employees, volunteers and interns have if they are being investigated.
  • This information summarizes potential actions resulting from an IAIU investigation where a school employee, volunteer or intern was reported to be the alleged perpetrator. .
  • This concludes the fourth and final module of the Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect training. This is a summary of the information in Module IV.
  • Here is a brief overall summary of some of the most important aspects from all four modules. This concludes the Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect training. You are welcome to review any portion of this module or any previous modules at any time.
  • Remember…
  • “ Child Abuse doesn’t report itself. Make the call, help a child.” … “Do what is right.”

Child neglect 4 Child neglect 4 Presentation Transcript

  • Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect What School Personnel Need To Do Module IV What happens after reporting
  • Who Conducts the Investigation?
    • A worker from a DYFS Local Office :
    • For reports of suspected abuse/ neglect that happen in the child’s home.
    • IAIU- “Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit”:
    • For reports of suspected abuse/neglect concerning school staff:
    • Administrators
    • Teachers
    • Coaches
    • Janitorial staff
    • Any school volunteer, intern or other employee
    • IAIU also investigates reports made for other out-of-home settings, such as, but not limited to Foster care/resource homes, Residential facilities, shelters, detention centers, Group homes, hospitals, Bus companies, day care centers.
  • Keep in mind…
    • Not all calls may result in an investigation of child abuse and neglect…
  • Other possible outcomes…
    • An issue may become an internal matter within the school.
    • It may become a legal matter for law enforcement to address.
    • There may be a need for available social services.
  • “ Child Welfare Services”
    • The SCR Hotline is also a resource to report situations or issues that may not rise to the level of abuse and neglect. The screener will determine, in some instances, that a CWS- “Child Welfare Services” assessment should be done.
    • The screener should be able to tell the caller at the conclusion of a call, if it will be assigned as a “CWS” or an actual Child Abuse/Neglect investigation - and explain why.
    • “ Child Welfare Services” is an intervention and assessment from a DYFS local office in which information and support services are offered to families in need, on a voluntary basis, and may be provided from either a DYFS local office or a community-based agency.
  • As an example…
    • School staff observe that a first grade student is becoming increasingly irritable and disheveled, often wearing clothing that is not clean. The teacher suspects something may be happening in the home but, other than these few observations, cannot see any direct signs of abuse. Because of her concern, the teacher makes a call to the Hotline. After providing the information, the screener indicates that Child Welfare Services will be offered. In this case, the parent accepted the help and the case worker assigned found that the parent had just had her second child and that the father had recently abandoned the family. Due to these added stressors, the child’s mother was distraught and clearly in need of some assistance. DYFS was able to refer the mother to a family support services agency and also determined they were eligible for TANF- (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) assistance.
  • Investigative Process Information you should know…
    • Names of reporters of child abuse and neglect are confidential. However, in the event of court action, their identities may be revealed during litigation.
    • The investigator may need to clarify information with the reporter, or may have additional questions.
    • If staff have additional information that may be useful, they will need to again contact the assigned investigator (and/or the Hotline).
    • School staff may be entitled to feedback, under certain circumstances (e.g., reporters can be informed whether services will be provided to the family or child involved).
    • In general, information may only be shared with school personnel :
    • “ when the information is needed in connection with the provision of care, treatment, or supervision to such child or such parent, guardian, resource family parent or other person and the provision of information is in the best interests of the child as determined by the Division of Youth and Family Services” N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10 b. 5
  • DYFS / IAIU Investigation Practices:
    • When the investigator interviews the child, there is an absolute need to obtain a “clean statement” from the child: one given by the child without any interference or influence from school staff.
    • If the child is young, in distress, or requests to have a familiar school person present, the school can provide someone to sit in the room with the child as the investigator conducts the interview.
    • In no manner, however, may the staff member “coach” the child.
    • An interpreter, when utilized, must provide an exact interpretation. Interpretation may include foreign language, augmentative communication devices, and may also require the assistance of a Speech-Language Specialist.
    • Whenever possible, the investigator will seek to interview the child alone.
    • Whether law enforcement, DYFS or IAIU responds first, schools must inform the responder that the other entity was also notified.
  • Emotional support for the child- what schools should and should not do.
    • If a child is in distress, the staff member(s) should provide appropriate emotional support to the child until help arrives.
    • What are some appropriate ways to respond to the child? What should you not do?
    • NOTE: DYFS and/or IAIU is responsible to conduct the investigation - not school personnel . Even good intentions on the part of school staff can confuse a child and further influence the child once DYFS and/or IAIU begins its work.
  • The rights of students (victims and other children who may be interviewed):
    • The student can request to have a familiar staff member present during an interview. N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11 (a) 5 i (1)
    • The student has the right to be interviewed alone, without the presence of school staff.
    • The student is entitled to communicate in his or her primary language (may include use of augmentative communication devices).
    • Other students (who are not the alleged victim), may be interviewed by the investigator without parental consent.
  • What “Findings” can be made?
    • Unfounded:
    • Used when incident did not occur or the findings do not rise to the level required by statute to find abuse or neglect.
    • Substantiated:
    • There must be a preponderance of evidence supporting an abuse or neglect finding. The act was “more likely than not” to have occurred.
  • Notification to the County Prosecutor:
    • Notification to the County Prosecutor may be made by DYFS/IAIU
    • for these six categories:
    • Death of a child,
    • Sexual abuse by a parent or caregiver,
    • Injury or condition resulting in emergency room treatment or hospitalization,
    • An injury or condition requiring more than superficial medical treatment (i.e. a broken bone at physician’s office),
    • Repeated violence committed against a child or substantially depriving a child of care over a period of time, and/or
    • Abandonment of a child.
  • At the conclusion of an investigation:
    • Investigation from the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit:
    • If IAIU conducted the investigation, the school district superintendent and the county superintendent are notified of the investigative finding.
    • The parent of the alleged victim is notified.
    • The alleged perpetrator is notified.
    • Law enforcement will be notified, as appropriate, based on the Finding.
    • Investigation from a DYFS Local Office:
    • If a Local Office conducted the investigation, the school superintendent (and/or others) are notified only on the “need to know” basis.
  • Communication between DYFS/IAIU and a school district:
    • When coordinating the removal of a child from home to an out-of-home or out-of-district placement, DYFS should notify the respective school district(s).
    • This will aid in the transfer of educational and medical records and minimize confusion or questions regarding absenteeism.
    • DYFS/IAIU personnel are committed to being accessible and to share information, as confidentiality statutes permit.
    • The school district designee is encouraged to contact the DYFS case worker with any questions.
  • IAIU information provided to the school district is confidential :
    • Information regarding reported allegations that identify a school district employee, volunteer or intern of potentially abusing or neglecting a child shall be considered confidential and may be disclosed only as required by court order or to cooperate in an investigation.
    • N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)5iv(1)
    • Records pertaining to such information shall be maintained in a secure location separate from other employee personnel records and accessible only to the school district chief school administrator or his or her designee.
    • N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)5iv(1)a
  • If an IAIU Finding is “Unfounded”…
    • “ All references to a notification to the designated child welfare authorities of a potential missing, abused or neglected child situation involving a school district employee, shall be removed from the employee’s personnel records immediately following the receipt of an official notice from child welfare authorities that the allegation was unfounded pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7a”
    • N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11 (a) 9 ii
  • The rights of staff under investigation:
    • Staff have the right to refuse to give a “Statement” to the investigator which will be duly noted as a matter of record.
    • Staff have the right to refuse to sign a “Statement” if one is provided.
    • Staff have the right to have an attorney or a union representative present when they are being interviewed.
    • Staff can ask questions and seek clarification during an interview.
    • Staff can request their interview be rescheduled or terminated.
  • Possible actions for a school staff member who may have been named as an alleged perpetrator:
    • IAIU will notify the alleged perpetrator of his/her rights of appeal (for substantiated findings).
    • IAIU may make certain recommendations concerning the staff member to the school district superintendent in substantiated findings reports.
    • The school district will implement its own internal policies and procedures concerning various types of conduct. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-3.1, IAIU may request temporary suspension or reassignment of the alleged perpetrator pending the outcome of the IAIU investigation to ensure the safety of the child/children.
  • Summary of Module IV
    • A DYFS Local Office investigates abuse and neglect that may have occurred in the child’s home.
    • IAIU (the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit) handles cases that may have occurred in the school or any other out-of-home setting.
    • “ Child Welfare Services” are offered to families in need.
    • Most information remains confidential during and after an investigation, for legal reasons and to protect the child.
    • Some information may be disclosed on a “need-to-know” basis.
    • Students may be interviewed alone or can request a familiar person to be present, but no “coaching” is permitted.
    • There are only two possible findings: “Unfounded” and “Substantiated.”
    • Staff have certain rights during a child abuse investigation.
  • Overall Summary: Key Points
    • When considering suspected child abuse or neglect, remember to do what is in the best interest of the child.
    • Every individual has a responsibility to report suspected child abuse and neglect.
    • All reports of child abuse must be made immediately by YOU by calling 1-877-NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873).
    • You do not need the confirmation of anyone else when making a report.
    • Be observant for indicators of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and physical neglect.
    • Schools are also required to notify law enforcement officials when reporting suspected abuse and neglect.
    • IAIU investigates abuse that may have been committed by school employees, volunteers or interns.
    • A DYFS Local Office will investigate abuse and neglect that may have been committed in the child’s home.
    • Make sure you are familiar with your school’s policies.
    • Remember…
  •  
    • You have now completed Module 4. You may exit this power point and take the Module 4 Quiz.