A Guide ForMandated Reporters InRecognizing And ReportingChild Abuse And Neglect
A Guide ForMandated Reporters InRecognizing And ReportingChild Abuse And Neglect          Commonwealth of Virginia       D...
Table of ContentsIntroduction..........................................1   Some Reports Are                               ...
Questions And Concerns About                                CPS Authorities To Conduct FamilyReporting Suspected Child Abu...
IntroductionWhile everyone should to be concerned               Child abuse and neglect occurs in all cultural,about child...
Recognizing Child AbuseAnd NeglectWhat Are The Legal Definitions Of                                                    M  ...
Physical Abuse    Physical abuse is defined as any act which, regardless of intent, results in a non-accidental    physica...
Child Behavioral Indicators   • Uncomfortable with physical contact;          • Reports being injured by                  ...
Physical Neglect    Physical neglect is defined as the failure to provide for a child’s physical survival needs to the    ...
Child Behavioral Indicators   • Begs for or steals food or money;           • States there is no one at home to           ...
Sexual Abuse    Sexual abuse is defined as acts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of minors. Sexual    abuse encom...
Child Behavioral Indicators   • Shows reluctance to change clothes for      • Exhibits an older, more worldly     physical...
Emotional/Mental Abuse or Neglect     Just as physical injuries can scar and incapacitate a child, emotional maltreatment ...
Child Behavioral Indicators  • Exhibits age-inappropriate behaviors         • Exhibits emotional or intellectual    such a...
Parental Attitudes As Indicators     A good deal of important information can be gathered from routine conversations with ...
The Fine Line BetweenAbuse And DisciplineIn order for children to grow up and become   The intent of the reporting law is ...
Questionable Child AbuseAnd Neglect SituationsCorporal Punishment                                 Distinguishing Abuse    ...
Unsupervised Or     M         Description of how the injury occurred:         If an injury is accidental, there should be ...
M    The situation: CPS will want to assess        Failure to obtain treatment, however, must    the time of day and lengt...
Some Reports Are OutsideThe Scope Of Child Abuse/Neglect In VirginiaThe Department of Social Services believes          No...
Reporting Child AbuseAnd NeglectWhy Should I Report?                                Under Virginia law, certain profession...
M                                                                        M                        Any person over the age ...
What If I Do Not Report?                              Should I Tell The Parents                                           ...
Questions And Concerns AboutReporting Suspected Child Abuse And NeglectA report of suspected maltreatment is not an       ...
Responding To The ChildHow Should I Respond To A Child Who                  understand.Young children have not developedRe...
The Child Protective ServicesResponseWhat Happens After I Make A Report?                 When a report of suspected child ...
The CPS worker will complete the CPS           Investigation Response     family assessment within 45-60 days of the      ...
The CPS worker will interview the child, the     Right To Appeal Investigation Findingssiblings, the parents or caretakers...
CPS AuthoritiesTo Conduct Family AssessmentOr InvestigationThe CPS worker has certain authorities               CPS worker...
CPS Services May BeProvided To The FamilyWhile the goal of a family assessment or an         What If The Child Must Beinve...
Will I Receive Feedback                  From Child Protective Services?                   The local agency will inform yo...
Please print or type.                            Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect                        ...
Child Abuse Hotline  1-800-552-7096      (Language Line Available)Virginia Department of Social Services         7 North E...
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A Guide for Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect

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A Guide for Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect

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A Guide for Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect

  1. 1. A Guide ForMandated Reporters InRecognizing And ReportingChild Abuse And Neglect
  2. 2. A Guide ForMandated Reporters InRecognizing And ReportingChild Abuse And Neglect Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Social Services Child Protective Services
  3. 3. Table of ContentsIntroduction..........................................1 Some Reports Are Outside The Scope OfRecognizing Child Abuse Child Abuse/Neglect In Virginia .......19And Neglect .........................................3 Educational Neglect ..................................19What Are The Legal Definitions OfChild Abuse and Neglect?...........................3 Lack Of Immunizations And Preventative Health Care ..........................19What Are The Types And Indicators OfChild Abuse And Neglect? ..........................3 Failure To Use Seat Belt Restraints As Required By Law..................................19The Fine Line BetweenAbuse And Discipline ................................13 Non-Caretaker Sexual Abuse....................19 Abuse Did Not Occur In Virginia AndQuestionable Child Abuse And The Abuser Does Not Live In Virginia .......19Neglect Situations .............................15 Poverty ......................................................19Corporal Punishment ................................15Distinguishing Abuse.................................15 Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect .......................................21Unsupervised Or “Latchkey” Children .......16 Why Should I Report?...............................21Failure To Obtain Medical Care.................17 Who Must Report? ....................................21 When Should I Report?.............................22 What Information Will I Be Asked To Provide? ...............................................22 What If I Do Not Report? ..........................23 What If I Am Not Sure? .............................23 What If The Abuse Occurred In The Past? ..............................23 Should I Tell The Parents I Made A Report?......................................23 A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect
  4. 4. Questions And Concerns About CPS Authorities To Conduct FamilyReporting Suspected Child Abuse Assessment Or Investigation...........33And Neglect .......................................25 Release Of Records ToThe Belief That Child Protective Services ..........................33Nothing Will Be Done ................................25 Interviewing Child Without Parental ConsentConfidentiality Issues ................................25 And Outside The Presence Of The Parents...............................................33Responding To The Child..................27 Photographs And X-Rays..........................33How Should I Respond To A Child WhoReports Being Abused Or Neglected?..........27 CPS Services May Be Provided To The Family.....................35Techniques For Interacting WithAn Abused/Neglected Child ......................27 What If The Child Must Be Removed From Home? .............................35The Child Protective ServicesResponse ...........................................29 Will I Receive Feedback From Child Protective Services? ...............37What Happens AfterI Make A Report? ......................................29Family Assessment Response ..................29Investigation Response .............................30A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect
  5. 5. IntroductionWhile everyone should to be concerned Child abuse and neglect occurs in all cultural,about child abuse and neglect, certain ethnic, occupational, and socioeconomicprofessionals and other individuals are groups. There are certain known factorsrequired by law to report suspected child which, when combined, increase theabuse and neglect. These materials are likelihood of child abuse or neglect. They maydesigned to assist those persons who are include:mandated to report suspected child abuse M Parental predisposition towardsand neglect. maltreatment (perhaps as a result of being abused or neglected as a child);Parents have a fundamental right to raise Mtheir children and our community presumes Stress within the home due to marital,that parents will act in their children’s best employment, financial, or other problems;interest. When parents do not protect M Parental substance, alcohol, or drugchildren from harm and put them at risk of abuse;abuse or neglect, the community has a Mresponsibility to intervene to protect the Lack of knowledge of child development;health and welfare of children. unrealistic expectations of children; inadequate parenting skills; M Low self esteem, poor impulse control, low level of frustration tolerance, isolation from the support of family and friends; M Disabilities, which increase the risk of abuse and neglect for children.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 1
  6. 6. Recognizing Child AbuseAnd NeglectWhat Are The Legal Definitions Of M Commits or allows to be committed anyChild Abuse And Neglect? illegal sexual act upon a child, includingSection 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia incest, rape, indecent exposure,defines an abused or neglected child as any prostitution, or allows a child to be used inchild under 18 years of age whose parent or any sexually explicit visual material.any person responsible for his or her care*(such as a child care provider, foster parent, In addition, newborn infants who have beenor anyone responsible for the welfare of a medically diagnosed for exposure to non-child receiving residential care at an prescription, controlled substances duringinstitution): pregnancy are also considered to be at risk of abuse or neglect. Attending physicians areM Causes or threatens to cause a non- accidental physical or mental injury; required to report these children.M Has a child present during the *NOTE: Virginia law requires that mandated manufacture or attempted manufacture of reporters report all cases of suspected child a controlled substance or during the abuse or neglect to child protective services unlawful sale of such substance where regardless of the abuser/neglector’s such activity would constitute a felony relationship to the child. violation; What Are The Types And Indicators OfM Neglects or refuses to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing, Child Abuse And Neglect? or health care; Many people think that child abuse is limited to physical harm. In reality, child abuseM Abandons the child; includes: physical abuse; physical neglect;M Neglects or refuses to provide adequate sexual abuse; and emotional/mental supervision in relation to a child’s age and maltreatment. level of development; Physical injuries, severe neglect, andM Knowingly leaves a child alone in the same dwelling with a person, not related malnutrition are more readily detectable than by blood or marriage, who has been the subtle, less visible injuries which result convicted of an offense against a minor for from emotional/mental maltreatment or which registration is required as a violent sexual abuse. However, all types of abuse sexual offender; or and neglect may endanger or impair a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Most child abuse and neglect is not a one time event, but more often occurs in a pattern over time. Many children are subject to more than one form of maltreatment.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 3
  7. 7. Physical Abuse Physical abuse is defined as any act which, regardless of intent, results in a non-accidental physical injury. Inflicted physical injury most often represents unreasonably severe corporal punishment. This may happen when the parent is frustrated or angry. Intentional, deliberate assaults, such as burning, biting, cutting, and the twisting of limbs, are also included in this category. The sale of drugs by a caretaker in the presence of a child can pose a threat to the child’s safety due to strangers in and out of the home and the possibility of firearms or other weapons bring present. Manufacturing drugs, especially in methamphetamine laboratories can expose children to serious toxins. A combination or pattern of indicators should alert you to the possibility of physical abuse. Physical Indicators Questionable • On face, lips, mouth, torso, back, buttocks, thighs; Bruises And Welts: • Injuries in various stages of healing; • Clustered injuries that form regular patterns, which reflect the shape of article (electric cord, belt buckle) used to inflict injury; • Injuries that seem to regularly appear after absence, weekend, or vacation; or • Human bite marks. Questionable • Cigarette burns, especially on soles, palms, back, or Burns: buttocks; • Immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like, doughnut shaped on buttocks or genitalia) patterned like electric burner, iron, etc.; or • Rope burns on arms, legs, neck, or torso. Questionable • To skull, nose, facial structure; Fractures: • Fractures in various stages of healing; or • Multiple or spiral fractures. Questionable • To mouth, lips, gums, eyes; or Cuts, Scrapes, • To external genitalia. Scratches, Lacerations Or Abrasions:4 Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect
  8. 8. Child Behavioral Indicators • Uncomfortable with physical contact; • Reports being injured by parents or other caretaker; • Wary of adult contacts; • Complains of soreness or moves • Apprehensive when other uncomfortably; children cry; • Wears clothing inappropriate for • Exhibits behavioral extremes; the weather to cover injuries; • Aggressiveness or withdrawal; • Reluctant to change clothes • Frightened of parents; (attempts to hide injuries, bruises, etc.); or • Afraid to go home; • May be a chronic runaway. Caretaker Characteristics • Has a history of being abused • Misuses alcohol or other drugs; as a child; • Attempts to conceal childs injury or to • Uses harsh discipline inappropriate to protect identity of person responsible; childs age, the misbehavior, and the • Has unrealistic expectations of child that condition in which the misbehavior are beyond child’s age or ability; occurred; • Allows a child to be present during the • Offers illogical, unconvincing, manufacture or sale of controlled contradictory, or no explanation of substances; child’s injury; • Demonstrates insufficient parenting • Significantly misperceives child (e.g. skills; sees him as bad, stupid, different, etc.); • Demonstrates poor coping skills; • Has a serious mental health condition or exhibits a psychotic or • Has anger management difficulties; or psychopathic personality; • Has a history of domestic violence, as • Fails to keep child’s medical victim or perpetrator. appointments;Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect 5
  9. 9. Physical Neglect Physical neglect is defined as the failure to provide for a child’s physical survival needs to the extent that there is harm or risk of harm to the child’s health or safety. Physical neglect is often chronic in nature. Physical neglect may include, but is not limited to: M Abandonment; M Lack of supervision; M Lack of adequate bathing and good hygiene; M Lack of adequate nutrition; M Lack of adequate shelter; M Lack of medical or dental care; or M Knowingly leaving a child alone with a person who is not related by blood or marriage to the child, and who is required to register as a violent sex offender. A combination or pattern of indicators should alert you to the possibility of physical neglect. Physical Indicators • Consistently dirty and has severe body • May live in unsafe or extremely dirty odor; homes; • Lacks clothing that is adequate for the • Consistent lack of supervision, weather; especially when involved in dangerous activities or for long periods of time; or • Has unattended health or medical needs, such as dental problems, • Has been abandoned by parent or hearing problems, or vision problems; guardian.6 Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect
  10. 10. Child Behavioral Indicators • Begs for or steals food or money; • States there is no one at home to provide care; • Extended stays at school (early arrival and late departure); • Abuses alcohol or drugs; or • Demonstrates constant fatigue, • Frequently absent from school. listlessness, or falling asleep in class; Caretaker Characteristics • Appears to be indifferent to the child; • Demonstrates insufficient parenting skills; • Seems apathetic, depressed; • Demonstrates poor coping skills; • Is abusing alcohol or other drugs; • Consistently fails to keep medical • Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre appointments for a child with disabilities manner; or chronic health care condition; • May exhibit symptoms of mental illness • Has unrealistic expectations of child that or diminished intelligence; are beyond child’s age or ability; or • Maintains chaotic home; • Knowingly leaves a child alone with a • Has a history of being abused or person, who is not related by blood or neglected as a child; marriage, who is required to register as a violent sex offender. • May hoard food or other materials that make house unsafe;Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect 7
  11. 11. Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse is defined as acts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of minors. Sexual abuse encompasses a broad range of behavior and may consist of many acts over a long period of time or a single incident. Sexual abuse is generally perpetrated by someone known to the child and often does not involve violence. Both boys and girls are victims of sexual abuse. The nature of sexual abuse, the shame of the child victim, and the possible involvement of trusted parents, stepparents, or other persons in a caretaker role makes it extremely difficult for children to come forward to report sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes: M Incest; M Rape; M Intercourse; M Oral-genital contact; M Fondling; M Sexual propositions or enticement; M Indecent exposure; M Child pornography; or M Child prostitution. A combination or pattern of indicators should alert you to the possibility of sexual abuse in both male and female children. Child Physical Indicators • Has difficulty walking or sitting; • Has bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal, or anal areas; • Has torn, stained, or bloody underclothing; • Has a sexually transmitted disease, especially in pre-teens; or • Has pain or itching in genital area; • Becomes pregnant at a young age.8 Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect
  12. 12. Child Behavioral Indicators • Shows reluctance to change clothes for • Exhibits an older, more worldly physical education classes or other appearance/behavior than peers; recreational activities; • Seems threatened or afraid of • Engages in highly sexualized play, that physical contact; is different from age-appropriate form of • Receives unexplained money or “gifts”; exploration; • Sudden noticeable changes in behavior; • Demonstrates an extreme fear of males (or females); • Abuses alcohol or drugs; • Has a sudden drop in school • Exhibits delinquent behavior; performance; • May repeatedly set fires; • Has sleep problems or nightmares; • May attempt suicide or other self-injury • Bizarre or unusual sexual behavior or behavior; or knowledge; • May have eating disorders. • Detailed and age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behavior (especially younger children); Caretaker Characteristics • Extremely protective or jealous of child; • Shows favoritism to child, e.g. gifts, money, attention, privileges; or • May have been sexually abused as a child; • May have marital problems. • Misuses alcohol or other drugs; • Non-abusing caretaker/spouse is frequently absent from the home, permitting access to child by abusing caretaker/spouse;Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect 9
  13. 13. Emotional/Mental Abuse or Neglect Just as physical injuries can scar and incapacitate a child, emotional maltreatment can similarly damage a child emotionally, behaviorally, and intellectually. Varying degrees of emotional and behavioral problems are common among children who have been emotionally abused. Emotional/mental maltreatment can include patterns of: M Verbal assaults (e.g., screaming, intimidating, rejecting, ridiculing, blaming, sarcasm); M Ignoring and indifferent behavior to children; or M Constant family conflict. Emotional abuse can be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a child is degraded enough, the child will begin to live down to the image communicated by the abusing parent or caretaker. Cases of emotional abuse are difficult to prove. A cause and effect relationship between the parent or caretaker’s acts and the child’s response must be established. These children should be referred for evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. A combination or pattern of indicators should alert you to the possibility of emotional/mental abuse or neglect. Physical Indicators • May have frequent stomach aches, • May have a non-organic, head aches or unexplained weight failure-to-thrive medical diagnosis; or fluctuations; • May have learning problems. • May have speech disorders; • May lag in physical development;10 Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect
  14. 14. Child Behavioral Indicators • Exhibits age-inappropriate behaviors • Exhibits emotional or intellectual such as thumb sucking, biting, head developmental delays; banging or rocking; • Exhibits either general or self- • Exhibits neurotic traits such as sleep destructive behavior; disorders, inhibition of play; • Exhibits cruel behavior or may seem to • Exhibits extreme behaviors such as over get pleasure from hurting others and/or compliance, passivity, aggression, animals; withdrawal or inappropriate affect for the • Exhibits delinquent behavior; situation; • May abuse alcohol or drugs; or • Exhibits overly adaptive behavior such as inappropriate adult behavior; • May have eating disorders. Caretaker Characteristics • Blames or belittles child; • Seems unconcerned about child’s problems; • Ignores or rejects child; • Makes unreasonable demands or has • Withholds love from child; unrealistic expectations of the child • Shows favoritism among siblings; based on the child’s developmental capability; or • Demonstrates a negative or apathetic attitude towards child; • Has a history of domestic violence as victim or perpetrator.Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect 11
  15. 15. Parental Attitudes As Indicators A good deal of important information can be gathered from routine conversations with parents. They will often reveal details of family life, discuss discipline, and may even request help with a problem. Conversations with parents can also reveal how they feel about their child. The abusive or neglectful parent may: Expect Too Much • Parents who make unrealistic demands • Parents who have negative or apathetic on a child for early control of feeding, attitudes toward the child. sleeping, and elimination habits may • Parents who seem indifferent to, deny, complain excessively about the child’s or are annoyed by injury, illness, or poor table manners, defiance at developmental delays in their child. bedtime, or deliberate soiling. • Parents who do not seem sensitive to • Parents who complain frequently that a their childs basic needs for food, child cries excessively "for no good shelter, clothing, or medical care. reason.” • Parents who scapegoat one child as • Parents who consistently attribute being different or bad. unrealistic or inappropriate motives to an infant’s behavior, e.g., “He knows it • Parents who become excessively angry makes me mad, but he does it anyway.” at the childs performance or conduct. • Parents who assign adult activities to the child.12 Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect
  16. 16. The Fine Line BetweenAbuse And DisciplineIn order for children to grow up and become The intent of the reporting law is not toproductive members of society, subject to interfere with appropriate parental discipline,society’s norms, values, and rules, all but to respond to extreme or inappropriatechildren need discipline. Discipline is a parental actions. Actions that are excessivelearning process designed to teach or forceful enough to leave injuries may beappropriate behaviors. considered abusive.Unlike discipline, abuse is not a learningprocess. It is designed to stop behaviorthrough inflicting pain. It does not teachalternative, correct behavior. Therefore,abused children do not learn correctbehavior. They learn to avoid punishment.Recognizing Child Abuse And Neglect 13
  17. 17. Questionable Child AbuseAnd Neglect SituationsCorporal Punishment Distinguishing Abuse From AccidentThe use of corporal punishment on childrenby parents is not illegal in Virginia. Most The very nature of childhood invitesprofessionals agree that physical punishment accidents. Children are curious and fearless.is not the most desirable or effective method They run, climb, jump, and explore. A child’sto use with children. motor skills usually outpace cognitive skills allowing him/her to approach danger withoutThe excessive use of corporal punishment recognizing it. When observing an injury youteaches children to resolve conflicts violently suspect might be the result of abuse,and to use physical power rather than consider:reason to obtain results or express anger. M Location of the injury: Certain locations on the body are more likely to sustainExcessive corporal punishment can easily accidental injury. They include the knees,result in unintended injury (ies) to a child due elbows, shins, or forehead. Protected bodyto the difference in size between an adult parts and soft tissue areas, such as theand a child, the presence of anger, and the back, thighs, genital area, buttocks, back ofuse of force. the legs, or face, are less likely to accidentally come into contact with objectsCorporal punishment is not permitted in that could cause injury.public schools, foster homes, group homes Mand other child caring institutions. Number and frequency of injuries: The greater the number of injuries, the greater the cause for concern. Unless the child is involved in a serious accident, he/she is not likely to sustain a number of different injuries accidentally. Multiple injuries in different stages of healing may indicate abuse. M Size and shape of the injury: Many non-accidental injuries are inflicted with familiar objects: a stick, a board, a belt, or a hair brush. The injury could also be a handprint. These marks bear strong resemblance to the object that was used. Accidental marks resulting from bumps and falls usually have no defined shape.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 15
  18. 18. Unsupervised Or M Description of how the injury occurred: If an injury is accidental, there should be a “Latchkey” Children reasonable explanation of how it happened The laws of Virginia do not set a specific that is consistent with the appearance of age for when a child legally can stay alone. the injury. When the description of how the Age alone is not a very good indicator of a injury occurred and the injury are child’s maturity level. Some very mature 10- inconsistent, there is cause for concern. year-old children may be ready for self care For example, it is not likely that a fall off a while some 15-year-old children may not be chair onto a rug would produce bruises all ready due to emotional problems or over the body. behavioral difficulties. M Consistency of injury with the child’s developmental capability: As a child In determining whether a child is capable of grows and gains new skills, his/her ability being left alone and whether a parent is to engage in activities which can cause providing adequate supervision in latchkey injury increases. A toddler trying to run is situations, child protective services (CPS) likely to suffer bruised knees and a bump will assess several areas. These areas on the head. He/she is less likely to include: suffer a broken arm than is an eight- M Child’s level of maturity: CPS will want year-old who has discovered the joy of to assess whether the child is physically climbing trees. A two-week-old infant capable of taking care of him/herself; is does not have the movement capability mentally capable of recognizing and to self-inflict a bruise. avoiding danger and making sound decisions; is emotionally ready to be M Remember that accidents happen: When assessing an injury, consider alone; knows what to do and whom to call whether the child is developmentally if an emergency arises; and has no capable of causing his or her own injuries. special physical, emotional, or behavioral Also consider the child’s size and whether problems that make it unwise to be left he/she is able to generate sufficient force alone. It is important to note that a child to create injury. Parents are not perfect. who can take care of him/herself may not Injuries occur that might have been be ready to care for younger children. avoided. Nevertheless, there is cause for M Accessibility of those responsible for concern when injuries recur and/or the the child: CPS will want to determine the explanation is inconsistent with the injury location and proximity of the parents, or the child’s developmental abilities. whether they can be reached by phone and can get home quickly if needed, and whether the child knows the parents’ location and how to reach them.16 Questionable Child Abuse And Neglect Situations
  19. 19. M The situation: CPS will want to assess Failure to obtain treatment, however, must the time of day and length of time the be considered in light of: child is left alone; the safety of the home M The availability of resources; or neighborhood; whether the parents M have arranged for nearby adults to be The parent’s financial ability to provide the available in case a problem arises; and treatment; whether there is a family history of child M The parent’s cultural and religious beliefs; abuse or neglect. or MNOTE: Some localities have ordinances The consequences of failure to obtainconcerning the age at which a child may be needed medical care.left without supervision. Please check withyour local county or city office to find out if Parental failure to obtain needed medicalyour locality has an ordinance governing the care due to ignorance, misunderstanding orage at which a child can be left unsupervised. poverty is outside the scope of the CPS program. Before you contact CPS aboutFailure To Obtain these situations, it is important to offer theMedical Care parents services such as counseling, information and referral, and/or financial aidFailure of the parent or caretaker to provide to secure the needed medical treatment.needed health care treatment for a conditionwhich, if untreated, could result in illness,developmental delays, or endangerment canbe reported to CPS as suspected medicalneglect. Children at increased risk formedical neglect and for whom theconsequences are serious include childrenwith medically diagnosed diseases ordisabilities, and children under the care of aphysician, sub-specialist or allied health carespecialist due to a medical diagnosis.Questionable Child Abuse And Neglect Situations 17
  20. 20. Some Reports Are OutsideThe Scope Of Child Abuse/Neglect In VirginiaThe Department of Social Services believes Non-Caretaker Sexual Abusethat the well-being of children is a shared Children can be sexually abused by acommunity concern; however, some person who is not in a caretaker role. Thissituations are not appropriate for CPS includes sexual abuse of a child by anotherintervention. Under Virginia law, some child. These reports should be made to thereports of suspected child abuse and neglect local law enforcement agency in yourare outside the scope of the Child Protective community. If there is reason to suspect theServices Program and cannot be accepted sexual abuse occurred due to lack offor family assessment or investigation. These supervision by a caretaker, that reportinclude: should be made to CPS.Educational Neglect Abuse Did Not Occur In Virginia AndCPS does not have the authority to The Abuser Does Not Live In Virginiaintervene when the child is truant from The Virginia CPS program does not haveschool. These issues are addressed by the jurisdiction to investigate a report of childschool system. abuse that occurred in another state and theLack Of Immunizations And alleged abuser does not live in Virginia.Preventative Health Care These reports are made to the state in which the abuse occurred. The local department ofCPS intervenes in medical neglect cases social services in Virginia can assist in theonly in situations of imminent danger to the investigation if requested by the other state.child’s health and safety. Immunizations andwell-baby examinations are considered Although CPS cannot conduct anpreventative medicine, not treatment. The investigation of these situations, the localdecision to obtain preventative health care is agency can refer the child and family fora parental decision. services if needed.Failure to provide immunizations or Povertypreventative medical care does not Poverty can put children at risk, but is not inconstitute abuse or neglect under Virginia itself a valid CPS report. Often theselaws. families need considerable communityFailure To Use Safety Belt Restraints In support to subsist. If a family is utilizing theMotor Vehicles As Required By Law available resources, a local agency will not be likely to accept such reports of lack ofVirginia law requires the use of safety food, clothing and shelter for CPS.restraints for children in motor vehicles. Theintent of the law is to protect children fromserious injury in the event of an accident.This is a civil law with designated fines andpenalties. Law enforcement authorities areresponsible for enforcing this law.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 19
  21. 21. Reporting Child AbuseAnd NeglectWhy Should I Report? Under Virginia law, certain professionals are required to report when acting in aThe purpose of mandated reporting is to professional capacity. These professionalsidentify suspected abused and neglected include:children as soon as possible so that they Mcan be protected from further harm. Persons licensed to practice medicine or any of the healing arts;Child protective services cannot act until a M Hospital residents or interns;report is made. As a mandated reporter, you Mplay a critical role in preventing any future Persons employed in theharm to children. nursing profession; M Social workers;Without detection, reporting, and Mintervention, these children may remain Eligibility workers in a localvictims for the rest of their lives. Abused department of social services;children don’t just grow up and forget their M Probation officers;childhood. They can carry physical and Memotional scars throughout their lives, and Teachers or other persons employedmay repeat the pattern of abuse or neglect in a public or private school, kindergarten,with their own children. or nursery school; MWho Must Report? Persons providing full or part-time child care for pay on a regular basis;Anyone can report suspected child abuse or Mneglect, but if you are identified in the Code Mental health professionals;of Virginia as a mandated reporter or you M Law enforcement officers;have received training in recognizing and Mreporting suspected child abuse and Professional staff persons employed byneglect, you are required by law to a public or private hospital, institution, orimmediately report your concerns to the facility in which children are placed;local department of social services or to the M Persons associated with or employed byChild Abuse and Neglect Hotline. any private organization responsible for the care, custody, and control of children; M Mediators certified to receive courtM The Child Abuse and referrals; Neglect Hotline M Volunteer Court Appointed number is Special Advocates (CASA); and 1-800-552-7096.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 21
  22. 22. M M Any person over the age of 18, who has Whether or not there is a family member received training approved by the who can protect the child; Department of Social Services for the M Name, address, and telephone number of purposes of recognizing and reporting the suspected abuser and his/her child abuse and neglect. This reporting relationship to the child; requirement shall not apply to any regular M minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or duly Nature and extent of the abuse/neglect, accredited practitioner of any religious including any knowledge of prior organization or denomination usually maltreatment of the child or siblings; referred to as a church as it relates to (i) M Any special language needs of the family; information required by the doctrine of the M religious organization or denomination to Any child or adult developmental issues; be kept in a confidential manner or (ii) M Whether the child has a disability and the information that would be subject to ways in which the disability affects the § 8.01-400 or 19.2-271.3 if offered as child’s functioning and care; evidence in court. M Any other pertinent information; and When Should I Report? M Your name, address, and phone number. When you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you should If you give your name when you report, it immediately report your concerns to the will be documented that you have met your local department of social legal obligation to report the suspected child services in your community. Local abuse and neglect. You may reportM Reports can also social services departments are anonymously, but you are encouraged to be made to the open during daytime business give your name. This makes it possible for Child Abuse and hours. A list of local departments the child protective services worker to Neglect Hotline of social services, addresses and contact you later if additional information is (1-800-552-7096), phone numbers is available at needed. Providing your name will also seven days a week, http://www.dss.virginia.gov/ enable the child protective services worker 24 hours a day. localagency to inform you of the outcome of your referral. What Information NOTE: There is a provision in the Code of Will I Be Asked To Provide? Virginia that allows certain mandated reporters to establish procedures to permit When making a report, it is helpful to reporting the suspected child abuse or provide as much information as possible. neglect to the head of the institution or department or his designee who must then M Name, address, and telephone number of make the report to the local department of the child and parents or other social services. person(s)responsible for the child’s care; M Childs birth date or age, sex, and race; M Names and ages of other persons who live with the child and their relationship to the child;22 Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect
  23. 23. What If I Do Not Report? Should I Tell The Parents I Made A Report?Liability Of The Reporter You do not have to tell the parents about yourSection 63.2-1512 of the Code of Virginia CPS report. If you choose to inform the parentsprotects a person, who either makes a CPS after you have made the report and CPS hasreport or participates in a court hearing that made contact, it is important that you beresults from a CPS report, from criminal and honest. Often parents will respect your honestycivil liability unless it is proven that the person even though they may disagree with theacted with malicious intent. position you’ve taken. You might explain thatPenalty For Failure To Report you are required by law to report all situations of neglect or injury to children caused byMandated reporters who fail to report questionable or other than accidental means.suspected child abuse or neglect, within 72 The law does not give you a choice abouthours of first suspicion, can be charged with reporting.a misdemeanor. Section 63.2-1509 of theCode of Virginia provides penalties for failure Filing a report of suspected child abuse orto report suspected child abuse or neglect. If neglect can be described as “making a referralfound guilty, the fine is up to $500 for the first to request help and services for the child andincident and from $100 to $1,000 for any family.” Parents need to know that theirsubsequent incidents. All such incidents are problems are not unique, they are notreferred to the local commonwealth’s attorney. inherently “bad” parents, and they can be helped. The intent of a report is to protect theWhat If I Am Not Sure? child from further harm and to improve familyYou should discuss the situation with your local relationships. Let the parents know that youdepartment of social services, child protective want to continue your relationship with themservices unit, or with staff at the Child Abuse and that you believe that this is a problemand Neglect Hotline. which can be solved.If a child has told you about abuse or neglect, There may be some instances in which you willthis is enough for you to call. It is better to not want to inform the parents of your report tomake your concerns known than to remain CPS. These instances include a situation wheresilent and possibly allow a child to remain the child’s safety would be jeopardized by theunprotected. parents’ knowing the child has disclosed information to you, or a situation where a childWhat If The Abuse Occurred In The Past? is in imminent danger and you believe theAny case of suspected child abuse or neglect, parent might run away with the child.where the victim is under age 18 at the time ofthe report must be reported even if the Before informing the parents about a report ofabuse/neglect occurred in the past. The child suspected abuse or neglect, it may be helpfulprotective services worker will evaluate the to discuss your decision with a local CPSsituation to determine whether CPS worker.intervention is warranted at the time of yourreport.Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 23
  24. 24. Questions And Concerns AboutReporting Suspected Child Abuse And NeglectA report of suspected maltreatment is not an Abused and neglected children cannot beaccusation. It is a request for the helping protected unless they are first identified.process to begin. The reporting process, The key to identification is reporting.however, may not always go smoothly.Difficulties may be encountered which can act Confidentiality issuesas a barrier to reporting or can discourage Will My Name be Revealedcontinued involvement in situations of child As The Reporter?abuse and neglect. The Code of Virginia provides for theProfessionals who have had an unsatisfactory confidentiality of the identity of all personsexperience when reporting suspected child who report suspected child abuse orabuse or neglect may be reluctant to report a neglect. In some instances, despite the childsecond time. These professionals may have protective services worker’s efforts tobeen discouraged from reporting, or may maintain confidentiality, a family may be ablehave developed a distrust of child protective to identify the mandated reporter. If the caseservices (CPS), feeling that a previous referral is brought into court, the identity of thewas not handled to their satisfaction. If you mandated reporter may be revealed duringhave been dissatisfied with the agency’s court proceedings.response to your report, you should considercontacting the CPS supervisor in the agency Can Parents See The Child Abuseto discuss your concerns. Or Neglect Records? Any individual, including the alleged abuserThe law requires that you report suspected or neglector, may exercise his/her rightschild abuse and neglect. In addition, while under the Virginia Privacy Protection Act ofreporting does not guarantee that the 1976 to see all personal information, relatedsituation will improve, not reporting to him/herself, contained in the case record.guarantees that if abuse or neglect exists, The individual requesting information isthe child will continue to be at risk. given access to that portion of the record concerning him/herself, with safeguardsThe Belief That Nothing Will Be Done taken to ensure the privacy rights of theSometimes potential reporters are other persons mentioned in the case record,convinced that nothing will be done if they including the reporter.report, so they don’t report. Aside from thelegal considerations (failure to report isagainst the law in Virginia), such reasoningis faulty. If an incident of suspected childabuse or neglect is reported, some actionwill occur. At the very least, reportingensures that social services is made awareof your concerns and your legal obligationwill be fulfilled. On the other hand, if theincident is not reported, nothing will occur.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 25
  25. 25. Responding To The ChildHow Should I Respond To A Child Who understand.Young children have not developedReports Being Abused Or Neglected? the abstract thinking ability necessary to answer these questions.When it is necessary to talk with a child in Mresponse to a disclosure of maltreatment or to Promise not to tell anyone about the child’sclarify suspicions, it is important to remember to disclosure of possible abuse or neglect.handle the discussion with sensitivity.Your M Ask leading or suggestive questions.response has the power to calm or upset the Mchild. Make angry or critical comments about the alleged perpetrator. He/she is often known,Do: loved, or liked by the child.M Find a private place to talk without M Disclose information indiscriminately, keeping interruptions. in mind the child’s right to privacy.M Put the child at ease by sitting near him/her, M Make the child feel different or singled out. not behind a desk. Techniques For Interacting With AnM Ask permission before touching the child. Abused/Neglected Child Touch may be associated with physical or emotional pain in children who have been The following tools or techniques can be used physically or sexually abused. with children who may be abused or neglected: MM Reassure the child that he/she is not in Never underestimate the power a positive trouble. adult relationship can have in a child’s life. Children take their cues from adults.M Keep your own feelings under control. M Ask permission before touching, againM Use open-ended questions such as: “Can you allowing a child to regain control. tell me what happened?” or “I’m wondering M who taught you how to do that.” Don’t speak badly of the offender. The offender is often known and liked or loved byM Use the child’s vocabulary. the child. Suggested statements are: “WhatM Let the child know what you will do: “We need he/she did to you was wrong. I am sorry that to tell (name). He/she knows how to help it happened to you.” or “It was unfair of children and families.” him/her to do that to you. I am sorry that it happened.”M Support the child: “I’m sorry that happened to M you.” Do not act shocked, angry, or upset at what a child may say or do. Remain open for moreDo Not: information. Some ways to say this are: “I’m wondering where you learned that.” or “I’mM Press for details beyond what the child is willing to share.You do not need to prove wondering who taught you how to do that.” or abuse or neglect. “I’m sorry that happened to you.”M Ask “why questions”. These questions require M Do not make a child feel different or singled children to explain actions that they may not out. Treat him/her just like every other child, but with an extra dose of compassion.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 27
  26. 26. The Child Protective ServicesResponseWhat Happens After I Make A Report? When a report of suspected child abuse or neglect is made, CPS must determine if theWhen a report of suspected child abuse or report is valid for a CPS response. If theneglect is made, social services staff must report is determined to be valid, the CPSdetermine that the situation described meets worker will conduct either a familythe legal definition of child abuse or neglect assessment or an investigation. The goalsand whether child protective services (CPS) of both responses are to:has the authority and responsibility to conducta family assessment, or an investigation.The four validity criteria are: • Assess the child’s safety • Strengthen and support familiesM The child is under age 18 at the time of the report; • Prevent further abuse of the childM The alleged abuser was in a caretaker role; Family Assessment Response A child safety and family service needsM The alleged abuse or neglect meets the definition of abuse or neglect as defined assessment is conducted with the family if the by the CPS Program; and report meets the validity criteria and is not required by law to be investigated, and thereM The local agency has jurisdiction to is no immediate threat to the child(ren)’s respond to the report. safety or well-being. Examples of these reports include, but are not limited to:If your report is not accepted for CPS Mresponse, the local agency will tell you Lack of supervision;which validity criteria are not met. In M Physical neglect;addition, the local agency may contact local Mlaw enforcement to report possible criminal Minor physical injury; orviolations even if the report is not valid for M Emotional abuse/neglect.CPS. After a report is accepted for a familyIf a decision is made not to respond, and assessment, the CPS worker will assess theyou disagree, you may further discuss your immediate safety needs of the child, identifyconcerns with the CPS supervisor. When a protective and other services needs of thecase is not appropriate for CPS, you may family, and assess risk of future harm to theseek consultation with the local agency for child.suggestions or guidance in dealing with thefamily.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 29
  27. 27. The CPS worker will complete the CPS Investigation Response family assessment within 45-60 days of the A child abuse or neglect investigation is report. He/she will interview the child, the conducted when there are immediate child siblings, the parents or caretakers, the safety concerns, previous reports of abuse alleged abuser, and may interview the or neglect, or the report is required by law to person who made the report along with any be investigated. other person who may have additional information about the incident. Examples include, but are not limited to, reports of: At the conclusion of the family assessment, M the CPS worker in conjunction with the Sexual abuse; family will make a determination of whether M A child death; or not services are needed to prevent abuse M or neglect and to meet the needs of the Serious physical injuries; family. There is no finding of abuse or M Hospitalization due to suspected neglect made in a family assessment. abuse/neglect; M Injuries requiring medical evaluation/treatment; M M Abandonment; or Abuse/neglect occurring in schools, day care centers or homes, foster homes and other non-family settings. After a report is accepted for investigation, the CPS worker will assess the immediate safety needs of the child, identify protective and other services needs of the family, and assess risk of future harm. The CPS worker will complete the CPS investigation within 45-60 days of the report.30 The Child Protective Services Response
  28. 28. The CPS worker will interview the child, the Right To Appeal Investigation Findingssiblings, the parents or caretakers, the The name of any person who has a “founded”alleged abuser, and may interview the person disposition made about him/her as a result ofwho made the report along with any other a child protective services investigation isperson(s) who may have additional entered into the Child Abuse and Neglectinformation about the incident. In some Central Registry. That person has the right toinstances, a police officer may accompany an administrative appeal of that decision. Thethe CPS worker during the investigation for three levels of administrative appeal include:reasons of safety and/or to determine if Mcriminal charges should be filed. Conference with the local department of social services director or designee;At the conclusion of the CPS investigation, M State level, administrative hearingthe CPS worker will make one of two convened before a hearing officer; andfindings: M Judicial review by the local circuit court.Founded: The investigation reveals by apreponderance of evidence that abuse orneglect has occurred.Unfounded: The investigation revealsinsufficient evidence that abuse or neglectoccurred. This finding does not necessarilymean that abuse or neglect did not occur,but that the evidence was not sufficient for afounded disposition.The Child Protective Services Response 31
  29. 29. CPS AuthoritiesTo Conduct Family AssessmentOr InvestigationThe CPS worker has certain authorities CPS workers have the authority to speak togranted by the Code of Virginia to conduct a both the alleged child victim and the siblingsfamily assessment or an investigation. without parental consent and outside the parent’s presence. However, parents are notifiedRelease Of Records To of the interview as soon as practicable.Child Protective Services Photographs And X-RaysSection 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginiarequires all mandated reporters to release any Section 63.2-1520 of the Code of Virginiarecords or reports that document the basis for allows the CPS worker to take photographsthe suspected abuse or neglect whether or and arrange for x-rays of the child as part of anot they are the complainant. medical evaluation without the consent of the parent or guardian.Interviewing ChildWithout Parental Consent AndOutside The Presence Of The ParentsSection 63.2-1518 of the Code of Virginiastates that any person required to make areport or conduct an investigation or familyassessment may talk to any child suspectedof being abused or neglected or to any of hissiblings without consent of and outside thepresence of his parent, guardian, legalcustodian, or other person standing in locoparentis, or school personnel.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 33
  30. 30. CPS Services May BeProvided To The FamilyWhile the goal of a family assessment or an What If The Child Must Beinvestigation is to protect the child from Removed From Home?further harm, that is not the only goal of the In most CPS reports, the child’s safety canCPS Program. The CPS worker is also be assured through the development of aresponsible for helping parents identify and safety plan with the parent or guardian, ifsolve problems that may have caused necessary.maltreatment by arranging for or providingservices to the family or parents. If the child’s safety cannot be maintained, the first effort is to have the allegedServices that may be provided to the family abuser/neglector leave the family home. Butby the CPS worker and/or community if that is not an acceptable alternative, it mayagencies include individual and/or family be necessary for the child to be placedcounseling; parenting groups or classes; outside the home to ensure his/her safety. Ifhomemaker services; respite day care; or it becomes necessary to remove the child,family supervision, provided through home the CPS worker will try to work with thevisits by the CPS worker. parents or guardian to arrange a safe placement for the child with a relative orThe length of time that CPS provides friend. If this is not possible, then the childservices to a family varies from case to case may be placed in an agency-approved fosterand is based on the continued risk of harm home or group placement.to the child. Unless a court orders a familyto receive services, the family may decline Sometimes, there is a CPS report thatthe offer of services by the CPS worker. involves an immediate danger to a child’s well-being. Section 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia permits law enforcement, CPS, or physicians to take a child into protective custody for up to 72 hours without a court order. If this occurs, immediately after a child is taken into protective custody, the parents or guardians must be notified that the child is in custody. A report must be made to CPS so that an investigation can be conducted. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court must also be notified. The ultimate goal is to reunite the family as soon as it is safe for the child.A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect 35
  31. 31. Will I Receive Feedback From Child Protective Services? The local agency will inform you if your If you are not contacted by the CPS worker report is being accepted for a CPS within 45-60 days of the date of the report, response. At the conclusion of the CPS and you wish to learn the outcome of the response, the local agency can tell you that investigation or family assessment, you may either the investigation was unfounded or call the worker assigned to the case or the that the local agency took necessary action. supervisor. Due to federal and state laws concerning the release of child protective services (CPS) information, the CPS worker is restricted in the information that can be given to individuals other than the alleged abuser, alleged victim, or victim’s guardian if not the child’s parent.36 A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect
  32. 32. Please print or type. Recognizing And Reporting Child Abuse And Neglect Name ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Virginia Department of Social Services A Guide For Mandated Reporters In Mailing address ____________________________________________________________________________________ Child Protective Services Unit Complete this form and mail to: Richmond, Virginia 23219For additional copies of: 7 North Eighth Street City __________________________________________State____________Zip ________________________________ Telephone ( _____ )_________________________________________________________________________________ Fax ( _____ ) ______________________________________________________________________________________ Email address _____________________________________________________________________________________ Please make check or money order payable to: Treasurer, State of Virginia Booklets are $2.00 per copy ______ Copies x $2.00 per copy = $ ______ Price is subject to change
  33. 33. Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-552-7096 (Language Line Available)Virginia Department of Social Services 7 North Eighth Street Richmond, Virginia 23219 www.dss.virginia.gov 032-02-0280-00-eng (03/07)

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