Youth Services Law

Showing 8 posts from December 2019.

Webinar about Mandated Reporting

Webinar blocks with coffee and computer

On January 28, 2020, I will be participating in a webinar about mandated reporting laws and dilemmas that we face in applying those laws.

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Mandated Reporting: Another Cautionary Tale

I ran across a report of another teacher prosecuted for failure to make a mandated report. The news story about the jury verdict finding her guilty was not very helpful, as it simply repeated the prosecution’s charge that, “having reasonable cause to believe that a child known to her in her professional capacity was an abused child, failed to make a report.” A more recent news story, reporting on her being sentenced to probation, relayed the prosecutors’ contention that a friend of the victim told the teacher about the abuse, but the teacher “did not believe her and did not make the required call.”

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Ransomware a Persistent Threat to School Districts

Reporting in 2019 indicates that waves of ransomware attacks continue to hit school districts; one cyber intelligence agency reports that more than 500 schools had been hit by late September. After three Louisiana districts were targeted, the Louisiana governor declared a state of emergency relating to school ransomware attacks during the summer.

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Nursemaid’s Elbow Can Be A Crime

I ran across this report of a child care teacher arrested and charged with a felony for causing a dislocated elbow. It sounds like a case of nursemaid’s elbow, an unfortunately common ailment in younger children (so common that its nickname dates from the days of actual nursemaids). It is usually a temporary and easily-treated condition, which probably is one of the reasons that the prosecutor downgraded the charge to a misdemeanor.

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Mandated Reporting: Direct or Chain of Command?

I have been seeing a lot of advice like this suggesting that mandated reporters should report directly to child protection rather than going through the chain of command. I understand the impulse, as every system of reporting has its weaknesses, but on balance, I believe that involving an institution’s chain of command is the best way to protect children.

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Universal Screening for ACEs: A Rush to Unintended Consequences?

Group of children outside

One new fashion in public policy is to screen all children for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). California is leading the way with an expensive and ambitious initiative to screen all adults and children covered by the state health plan. The idea is that screening will allow adults to better care for children and avoid negative outcomes if they are aware of which of them has suffered trauma. The problem is that, as with many well-intentioned policies, it is way ahead of any science.

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Countering Adverse Childhood Experiences

Group of smiling children

In my last post, I discussed the 20+ years of research on the possible effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on children. Fortunately, we are seeing more research into how we can help counter the ACEs that the children in our care have suffered. None of these studies is definitive — even the original ACEs studies show only correlation rather than causation. Nevertheless, they show some promising techniques that are worth trying while we wait for the scientific evidence to accumulate.

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Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Child with parents arguing in background

One of the most active areas of mental health studies these days is the effect of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on long-term health. The term stems from a groundbreaking study from 1995-1997 by the Centers for Disease Control and the Kaiser Permanente Foundation. That study found that children who experience ACEs have increased risk of physical and mental health problems in later life. The ACEs that researchers have studied include domestic violence, substance abuse, and parental divorce or separation. Later studies expanded the definition to include community violence, bullying, and living in foster care.

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