Youth Services Law

Showing 6 posts from December 2011.

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Posted In Miscellaneous

to link to an article about my recent trial win. I will be back on Monday after the holidays with more in the mandated reporters series.

Mandated Reporters: An Object Lesson

I have posted previously (here, here, and here) about the perils of failing to report child abuse. Now there is another report of a lawsuit filed against a church for failing to report suspected abuse.

Mandated Reporters: Know Your Statutes

One point I forgot when I started this series is that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a website that is an excellent resource.

Mandated Reporters: Where to Report

One question that the Penn State scandal has raised is to whom mandated reporters should report.  North Carolina, for example, requires a report to county social services department.  Directors of child care facilities must report directly to the State Bureau of Investigation. Georgia also requires a report to social services or law enforcement, but allows a staff member to report to a supervisor, who then must make the report.  This practice of allowing in-house reports has received a lot of criticism lately, but it is a sensible system.

Continue reading Mandated Reporters: Where to Report ›

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse

One of the consequences of the Penn State scandal is intense interest in statutes that require certain people to report suspicions of child abuse.   These "mandated reporters" are subject to a variety of penalties for failing to report, depending on the law in the specific state.  Given that interest, I decided a series of posts on the topic might be helpful.  So, follow along the next few days as I examine some of the principles involved.

Mandated Reporters: Who Should Report?

The initial question in mandated reporter statutes is who must report suspected abuse.  The two states where I am licensed, Georgia and North Carolina, are at opposite ends of the spectrum on that question.  Georgia lists specific occupations, O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5, while North Carolina requires "any person or institution" to report.  N.C.G.A. § 7B-301.   Most states are on Georgia's end of the spectrum.

Who must report, however, is not the same as who should report abuse.  The best practice is for all organizations that serve young people to report suspected abuse.  That policy, of course, carries with it the obligation to train staff members to recognize abuse. Fortunately, many state agencies offer such training.

Check first with your licensing organization to see what training it offers.  Next, look at online training, such as the California Mandated Reporter Project and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.  Finally, talk to organizations with a training curriculum, such as the Safe Sanctuaries program of the United Methodist Church.

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