Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mandated Reporter Training

Image: Salvatore Vuono /
This training is in subscription to The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law, otherwise known as the Mandated Reporter policy. Here are some relevant points:
  • Reporting an abuse may serve as a catalyst for bringing about change in the home environment, which in turn may lower the risk of abuse.
  • An abuse may be a physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person. It may also be sexual, emotional or neglect. However, this does not include mutual affray between minors and/or a reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer under specified circumstances. 
  • Mandated reporters are the ones who are legally authorized to report various types of abuse. They can report an abuse through the help of the local police department, sheriff's department or county probation department.
  • A mandated reporter must report the following: physical injury, child sexual abuse, willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful punishment, neglect of a child, and other abuse occurring in and out of home.
  • A child sexual abuse may occur in two types: (1) assault - i.e. sexual acts with children, intentional masturbation, child molestation and (2) exploitation - i.e. use of children for pornographic materials, performances and other obscene sexual conduct, child prostitution 
  • Mental suffering is not required to be reported, but may be reported.
  • Neglect of a child may either be severe (malnutrition, non-organic failure to thrive) or general (food inadequacy, clothing, shelter and medical care concerns). 
  • A mandated reporter has immunity from criminal or civil liability. However, failure to make a required report may render a mandated reporter guilty of misdemeanor, which is punishable up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000.00 fine, or both. 
  • Four basic areas of abuse are environmental, parental/caregiver, physical indicators and behavioral indicators. The presence of any of these however, does not prove the child is being abused, but should serve as a warning signal to probe further.
  • There is no one reaction that can be clearly associated with child abuse.  
  • The best source of information is not what the child says, but how the child behaves. 
  • Children tend to be fiercely loyal to their abusers, often demonstrating a pathological dependency on them. They may try to comply in order to please their abusers and may serve as caretakers to their abusers in order to avoid further abuse or rejection. 
  • Only a child protective agency or county designee may investigate a reported case. 
  • In assessing possible child abuse, one must not just ask questions. He or she shall be dynamic, so as to be actively involved to interpret clue and observe non-verbal communication. He or she must also avoid jumping to conclusions. 

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