Youth Services Law

Showing 7 posts from August 2014.

Mandated Reporter Training in Atlanta

I will be part of a panel discussion on October 16, 2014 at the Boy Scouts' Youth Protection Seminar. If you work with any youth-serving organization, the seminar will have a lot of invaluable material. Find out more details here.

More Evidence Supporting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

ChildProtectionFiguresA recent article in JAMA Psychiatry outlined a clinical trial evaluating the use of family-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with children suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  Conducted at three centers over 14 weeks and involving 127 children, the trial found that CBT had better results than a family-based relaxation treatment.  Helping children develop a strategy to face their fears and deal with their anxiety helped more than simply learning to relax.

Hat tip: www.science20.com

Sexual Assault Facts, Myths, and Statistics

Statistics"Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable."  Mark Twain

1 in 5 college women have been raped, 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted before age 18, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the same age.  We have all heard these statistics at one time or another.  And all of those statistics are wrong.

I understand why people dealing with these issues like shocking numbers.  After all, big solutions require big problems, and both governments and donors respond more quickly and generously to crises.  But bad statistics are never a good foundation for public policy or credible fundraising.

Continue reading Sexual Assault Facts, Myths, and Statistics ›

Pregnant Employees

Pregnant EmployeeClients often call me about how best to accommodate pregnant employees.  One of my law partners has written an excellent guide to the latest federal regulations on the topic.   How to implement the guidelines in your particular program, of course, will depend on what your program does.  Light duty at a day care center will be very different from light duty at a sports camp.

Disclosure of Abuse

OccupationsChild Maltreatment has an interesting article about recent research into why and when children disclose abuse.  The study looked at 204 investigative interviews using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) interview protocol.  The study found that most children spontaneously gave information about other people they had told about the abuse, but few explained why they decided to disclose the abuse.  Consistent with previous studies, the researchers found that children most often told mothers and peers, with family members a close second.  Very few children thought of teachers as a person to tell.

The researchers, of course, recommended more studies on the question.  In the youth-serving community, however, the study tells us that we need to better train teachers and staff in how to be more accessible to children who may want to disclose abuse.

How to Flunk Mandated Reporter 101

Posted In Child Abuse

School LockersLawyers in Pennsylvania have filed a complaint against a school system that reads like a case study in how to deliberately ignore mandated reporter laws. I usually am wary of claims in complaints, but this one has some corroboration from the criminal justice system. One teacher has pled guilty to sexual assault of the teenage victim, while another has pled guilty to violating mandated reporter laws after the girl told her about it.

The high school student alleges that a drama teacher raped her, and that the high school administration did nothing when she reported it. According to the complaint, the first teacher she told did nothing, and the high school principle accused her of making up stories to get attention.

Pennsylvania's mandated reporter law is clear, and the teacher, at least, should have known her obligations.  The high school principle perhaps could have benefitted from some training in how to respond to claims of abuse.

Responding to Reports of Abuse

AccusationA common client question is how to respond to reports of child abuse, either in care or at home.  While every situation is different, here are some principles that apply to almost all of them:

•  The first and most important principle is to take the report seriously.  Even if you have good reason to question the credibility of the child or staff member reporting the abuse, treat the report as true.  This principle does not require you to jump to the conclusion that the accused person is guilty, as you should avoid conclusions until the investigation is done.  But you must treat the person reporting the abuse with respect and listen seriously to his or her story.

The other principles follow naturally from this first one:

Continue reading Responding to Reports of Abuse ›

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