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La Canada USD |  AR  5141.4  Students

Child Abuse Reporting Procedures   

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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 except under circumstances set forth in Penal Code 11166.

Definitions

Child Abuse or neglect includes the following: (Penal Code 11165.5, 11165.6)

1. A physical injury or death inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person.

2. Sexual abuse of a child, including sexual assault or sexual exploitation, as defined in Penal Code 11165.1)

3. Neglect of a child as defined in Penal Code 11165.2

4. Willful harming or injuring of a child or the endangering of the person or health of a child as defined in Penal Code 1165.3.

5. Unlawful corporal punishment or injury resulting in a traumatic condition.

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 for a school employee 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 the students (Education Code 49001)

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

Mandated Reporters include, but are not limited to, teachers; instructional aides; teacher's aides or assistants; classified employees; certificated pupil personnel employees; administrative officers or supervisors of child attendance; administrators and employees of a licensed day care facility; Head Start teachers; district policy or security officers; licensed nurse or health care provider; and administrators, presenters, and counselors of a child abuse prevention program. (Penal Code 11165.7)

Reasonable Suspicion means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such 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. (Penal Code 11166)

Reportable Offenses

A mandated reporter shall make a report using the procedures provided below whenever, in his/her professional capacity or within the scope of his/her employment, he/she has knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been victim of child abuse or neglect. (Penal Code 11166)

Any mandated reporter who has knowledge of or who reasonably suspects that mental suffering has been inflicted upon a child, or that the child's emotional well-being is endangered in any other way, may report the known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect to the appropriate agency designated below. (Penal Code 11166.05)

Instances that indicate that the emotional well-being of a child might be endangered include, but are not limited to, evidence that the child is suffering from emotional damage, such as severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior towards self or others.

Any person shall notify a peace officer if he/she reasonably believes that he/she has observed the commission of a murder, rape, or lewd or lascivious act by use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury, where the victim is a child under age 14. (Penal Code 152.3, 288)

Responsibility for Reporting

The reporting duties of mandated reporters are individual and cannot be delegated to another person. (Penal Code 11166)

When two or more mandated reporters jointly have knowledge of a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect, the report may be made by a member of the team selected by mutual agreement and a single repot may be made and signed by the selected member of the reporting team. Any member who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter make the report. (Penal Code 11166)

No supervisor or administrator shall impede or inhibit a mandated reported from making a report. (Penal Code 11166)

Any person not identified as a mandated reporter who has knowledge of or observes a child whom he/she knows or reasonably suspects has been a victim of child abuse or neglect may report the known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect to the appropriate agency. (Penal Code 11166)

Reporting Procedures

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

Department of Children and Family Services

3075 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90010

(800) 540-4000

The telephone report must be made immediately, or as soon as practically possible, upon suspicion. This report will include:

1. The name of the person making the report.

2. The name of the child.

3. The present location of the child.

4. The nature and extent of any injury.

5. Any other information requested by the child protective agency, including the information that led the mandated reporter to suspect child abuse.

When 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.

Within 36 hours of making the telephone report, the mandated reporter shall complete and mail to the local child protective agency a written report which includes a completed Department of Justice form (DOJ SS 8572).

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

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

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

3. The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the child's parents/guardian

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

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

The mandated reporter shall make a report even if some of this information is not known or is uncertain to him/her. (Penal Code 11167)

Information relevant to the incident of child abuse or neglect may also be given to an investigator from an agency that is investigating the case. (Penal Code 11167)

Mandated reporters may obtain copies of the above form either from the district or the local child protective agency.

Instructions are included on the form, and reporters may ask the site administrator for help in completing and mailing it; however, the mandated reporter is personally responsible for ensuring that the written report is correctly filed.

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 he initial verbal report by telephone. When so notified, the site administrator shall inform the Superintendent or designee.

Administrators so notified shall provide the mandated reporter with any assistance necessary to ensure that reporting procedures are carried out in accordance with law and district regulations. At the mandated reporter's request, the principal may assist in completing and filing 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.

Reporting the information to an employer, supervisor, school principal, school counselor, co-worker, or other person shall not be a substitute for making a mandated report to the appropriate agency. (Penal Code 11166)

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. If a mandated reporter fails to report an instance of child abuse which he/she knows to exist or reasonably should know to exist, he/she is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. The mandated reporter may also be held civilly liable for damages resulting from any injury to the child after a failure to report.

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

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 or out-of-home care facility. 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. (Penal Code 11174.3)

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 the Child Abuse and Reporting Act, a violation of which is punishable as specified in 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 or Child Protective Services Agent

When a child is released to a peace officer or child protective services agent and taken into custody as a victim of suspected child abuse, the Superintendent or designee 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 or agent with the address and telephone number of the child's parent/guardian. It is the responsibility of the peace officer or agent to notify the parent/guardian of the situation. (Education Code 48906)

Peace officers and child protective services agents will be asked to sign an appropriate release or acceptance of responsibility form.

(cf. 5145.11 - Questioning and Apprehension)

Parent/Guardian Complaints

Upon request, the Superintendent or designee shall provide parents/guardians with a copy of the district's administrative regulations that describes how to report suspected child abuse occurring at a school site to appropriate agencies. Such procedures shall be in the primary language of the parent/guardian and, when communicating orally regarding those procedures, an interpreter shall be provided for parents/guardians whose primary language is other than English. (Education Code 48987)

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 to any district employee, that employee shall notify the parent/guardian of procedures for filing a complaint with the appropriate agency and also is obligated pursuant to Penal Code 11166 to file a report himself/herself using the procedures described above for mandated reporters.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

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(a) (viii) (C).

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

Upon filing formal charges or upon conviction, the district may take disciplinary action in accordance with law, district policies, regulations and/or collective bargaining agreements. The Superintendent or designee shall seek legal counsel in connection with either the suspension or dismissal of the employee.

(cf. 4117.4 - Dismissal)

(cf. 4118 - Suspension/Disciplinary Action (Certificated))

(cf. 4218 - Suspension/Disciplinary Action (Classified)

Notifications

The Superintendent or designee shall give persons hired by the district a statement informing them that they are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect, inform them of their reporting obligations under Penal Code 11166, and provide a copy of Penal Code 11165.7 and 11166 and oaf their confidential rights under Penal Code 11167. The district shall also provide these new employees with a copy of Penal Code 11165.7, 11166 and 11167. (Penal Code 11165.7, 11166.5)

Before beginning employment, employees shall sign the statement indicating that they have knowledge of the reporting obligations under Penal Code 11166 and that they will comply with those provisions. The signed statements shall be retained by the Superintendent or designee. (Penal Code 11166.5)

Employees who work with dependent adults shall be notified of legal responsibilities and reporting procedures pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code 15630-15637.

The Superintendent or designee shall also notify all employees that:

1. A mandated reporter who reports a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect shall not be held civilly or criminally liable for making a report. Any other

person making a report shall not incur civil or criminal liability unless it can be proven that he/she knowingly made a false report or made a report with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the report. (Penal Code 11172).

2. If a mandated reporter fails to report an incident of known or reasonably suspected child abuse or neglect, he/she is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. (Penal Code 11166)

3. No employee shall be subject to any sanction by the district for making a report. (Penal Code 11166)

Administrative LA CANADA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

approval: August 2008 La Canada Flintridge, California