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Hope ESD  |  AR  5141.4  Students

Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting   

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Duty to Report

Certificated employees and classified employees trained in child abuse identification and reporting shall report known or suspected child abuse to a child protective agency by telephone immediately or as soon as practically possible and in writing within 36 hours. The reporting duties are individual and cannot be delegated to another individual.

Definitions

1. Child Abuse, as defined by law, pursuant to Penal Code 273 and 11165, and for purposes of this regulation, includes the following:

a. Physical abuse resulting in a non-accidental physical injury.

b. Physical neglect, including both severe and general neglect, resulting in negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child.

c. Sexual abuse including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

d. Emotional abuse and emotional deprivation including willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment.

e. Severe corporal punishment.

2. Mandated Reporters are those people defined by law as "child care custodians," "medical practitioners" and "nonmedical practitioners" and include virtually all school employees. The following school personnel are required to report:

Teachers, administrators, supervisors of child welfare and attendance, certificated pupil personnel employees, employees of child care institutions, school psychologists, licensed nurses, counselors, presenters of child abuse prevention programs and those instructional aides or other classified employees trained in child abuse reporting.

3. Child Protective Agencies are those law enforcement and child protective services responsible for investigating child abuse reports, including the local police or sheriff department, county welfare or juvenile probation department and child protective services.

4. Reasonable suspicion means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his/her training and experience, to suspect child abuse or neglect. However, reasonable suspicion does not require certainty that child abuse or neglect has occurred nor does it require a specific medical indication of child abuse or neglect. (Penal Code 11166)

Child abuse or neglect does not include:

1. A mutual affray between minors. (Penal Code 11165.6)

2. An injury caused by reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer acting within the course and scope of his/her employment. (Penal Code 11165.6)

3. An injury resulting from the exercise by a teacher, vice principal, principal, or other certificated employee of the same degree of physical control over a student that a parent/guardian would be privileged to exercise, not exceeding the amount of physical control reasonably necessary to maintain order, protect property, protect the health and safety of students, or maintain proper and appropriate conditions conducive to learning. (Education Code 44807)

4. An injury caused by a school employee's use of force that is reasonable and necessary to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to persons or damage to property, to protect himself/herself, or to obtain weapons or other dangerous objects within the control of a student. (Education Code 49001)

5. Physical pain or discomfort caused by athletic competition or other such recreational activity voluntarily engaged in by a student. (Education Code 49001)

6. Homelessness or classification as an unaccompanied minor. (Penal Code 11165.15)

Reporting Procedures

1. To report known or suspected child abuse, any employee (as defined above) shall report by telephone to the local child protective agency.

Child Protective Services

234 Camino del Remedio

Santa Barbara, CA

(800) 367-0166

Or Emergency (805) 681-4401

Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect shall include, if known: (Penal Code 11167)

a. The name, business address, and telephone number of the person making the report and the capacity that makes the person a mandated reporter

b. The child's name and address, present location, and, where applicable, school, grade, and class

c. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the child's parents/guardians

d. The name, address, telephone number, and other relevant personal information about the person who might have abused or neglected the child

e. The information that gave rise to the reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect and the source(s) of that information

At the time the verbal report is made, the mandated reporter shall note the name of the official contacted, the date and time contacted, and any instructions or advice received.

2. Within 36 hours of making the telephone report, the mandated reporter will complete and mail a written report to the local child protective agency.

The written report shall include completion of the required standard Department of Justice form (DOJ SS 8572).

The mandated reporter may request and receive copies of the appropriate form either from the school district or directly from the local child protective agency.

Detailed instructions for completion of the form are on the back sheet of the form. Reporters may request assistance from the site administrator in completing and mailing the form; however, the mandated reporter is still responsible for ensuring that the written report is correctly filed.

3. Employees reporting child abuse to a child protective agency are encouraged, but not required, to notify the site administrator or designee as soon as possible after the initial verbal report by telephone. The site administration, when notified, shall inform the Superintendent or designee.

Administrators so notified shall provide the mandated reporter with any assistance necessary to ensure that the verbal or written reporting procedures are carried out according to state law and district regulations. If requested by the mandated reporter, the principal may assist in the completion and filing of these forms.

If the mandated reporter does not disclose his/her identity to a district administrator, he/she shall at least provide or mail a copy of the written report to the district without his/her signature or name.

Training

Within the first six weeks of each school year, the Superintendent or designee shall provide training on mandated reporting requirements to district employees and persons working on their behalf who are mandated reporters. Any school personnel hired during the school year shall receive such training within the first six weeks of employment. (Education Code 44691; Penal Code 11165.7)

The Superintendent or designee shall use the online training module provided by the California Department of Social Services. (Education Code 44691)

The training shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, training in identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. In addition, the training shall include information that failure to report an incident of known or reasonably suspected child abuse or neglect as required by law is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine as specified. (Education Code 44691; Penal Code 11165.7)

The Superintendent or designee shall obtain and retain proof of each mandated reporter's completion of the training. (Education Code 44691)

Notifications

The Superintendent or designee shall provide to all new employees who are mandated reporters a statement that informs them of their status as mandated reporters, their reporting obligations under Penal Code 11166, and their confidentiality rights under Penal Code 11167. The district also shall provide these new employees with a copy of Penal Code 11165.7, 11166, and 11167. (Penal Code 11165.7, 11166.5)

Before beginning employment, any person who will be a mandated reporter by virtue of his/her position shall sign a statement indicating that he/she has knowledge of the reporting obligations under Penal Code 11166 and will comply with those provisions. The signed statement shall be retained by the Superintendent or designee. (Penal Code 11166.5)

Legal Responsibility and Liability

1. Mandated reporters have absolute immunity. School employees required to report are not civilly or criminally liable for filing a required or authorized report of known or suspected child abuse.

2. A mandated reporter who fails to report an instance of child abuse, which he/she knows to exist or reasonably should know to exist, is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by confinement in jail for a term not to exceed six months or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. The mandated reporter may also be held civilly liable for damages for any injury to the child after a failure to report.

3. When two or more persons who are required to report jointly, have knowledge of suspected instance of child abuse, and when there is agreement among them, the telephone report may be made by any one of them who is selected by mutual agreement, and a single report may be made and signed by the person selected. However, if any person who knows or should know that the person designated to report failed to do so, that person then has a duty to make the report.

4. The duty to report child abuse is an individual duty and no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit such reporting duties. Furthermore, no person making such a report shall be subject to any sanction.

Victim Interviews

Upon request, a child protective agency representative may interview a suspected victim of child abuse during school hours, on school premises, concerning a report of suspected child abuse that occurred within the child's home. The child shall be given the choice of being interviewed in private or in the presence of any adult school employee or volunteer aide selected by the child.

A staff member or volunteer aide selected by a child may decline to be present at the interview. If the selected person accepts, the principal or designee shall inform him/her, before the interview takes place, of the following legal requirements:

1. The purpose of the selected person's presence at the interview is to lend support to the child and enable him/her to be as comfortable as possible.

2. The selected person shall not participate in the interview.

3. The selected person shall not discuss the facts or circumstances of the case with the child.

4. The selected person is subject to the confidentiality requirements of Article 2.5 (Child Abuse Reporting, Penal Code 11165 et seq.), a violation of which is punishable as specified by Penal Code 11167.5.

If a staff member agrees to be present, the interview shall be held at a time during school hours when it does not involve an expense to the school. (Penal Code 11174.3)

Release of Child to Peace Officer

When a child is released to a peace officer and taken into custody as a victim of suspected child abuse, the Superintendent and/or principal shall not notify the parent/guardian as required in other instances of removal of a child from school, but rather shall provide the peace officer with the address and telephone number of the child's parent/guardian.

It is the responsibility of the peace officer to notify the parent/guardian of the situation. Peace officers will be asked to sign an appropriate release or acceptance of responsibility form.

When School Employees are Accused of Child Abuse

Regardless of who child abusers may be, the major responsibilities of mandated reporters are to (1) identify incidents of suspected child abuse, and (2) comply with laws requiring reporting of suspected abuse to the proper authorities. Determining whether or not the suspected abuse actually occurred is not the responsibility of the school employee. Such determination and follow-up investigation will be made by a child protective agency.

Parent/Guardian Complaints

Upon request, the Superintendent or designee shall provide parents/guardians with procedures for reporting suspected child abuse occurring at a school site to appropriate agencies. For parents/guardians whose primary language is not English, such procedures shall be in their primary language and, when communicating orally regarding those procedures, an interpreter shall be provided.

To file a complaint against a district employee or other person suspected of child abuse or neglect at a school site, parents/guardians may file a report by telephone, in person, or in writing with any appropriate agency identified above under "Reporting Procedures." If a parent/guardian makes a complaint about an employee to any other employee, the employee receiving the information shall notify the parent/guardian of procedures for filing a complaint with the appropriate agency. The employee also is obligated pursuant to Penal Code 11166 to file a report himself/herself using the procedures described above for mandated reporters.

In addition, if the child is enrolled in special education, a separate complaint may be filed with the California Department of Education pursuant to 5 CCR 4650.

Parent/guardians or members of the public accusing school employees of child abuse should be made aware of the ramifications of making false reports and should be provided with information regarding child abuse and child abuse reporting.

Pending the outcome of an investigation by a child protective agency and prior to the filing of formal charges, the employee may be subject to reassignment or a paid leave of absence.

Disciplinary action resulting from the filing of formal charges or upon conviction shall be in accordance with district policies, regulations and/or collective bargaining agreements. The Superintendent or designee should consult with legal counsel in implementing either suspension or dismissal.

Regulation HOPE SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved: July 1992 Santa Barbara, California

revised: April 11, 2016