Youth Services Law

Showing 6 posts in Child Protection Policies.

Mandated Reporting: Consensual Sexual Play

Posted In Child Abuse, Child Protection Policies

group of children playing

One question that I often hear from child care centers is whether we are required to report sexual play between children. As usual, the question is “it depends.” Some types of sexual play are normal and developmentally appropriate, and warrant nothing more than redirection and teaching about social norms. Other types can be signals of sexual abuse and require more formal intervention. We don’t want to miss signals of abuse, but neither do we want to overreact to normal child development.

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Mandated Reporting: Neglect

Posted In Child Protection Policies, Mandated Reporter

Young boy running on road alone to school

One of the most difficult areas to navigate in mandated reporting issues is when to report neglect of a child. The laws are definite that you must report suspected neglect, but no one quite knows how to define it. Georgia, for example, does not define “neglect” in its mandated reporter law, but child protection authorities have adopted the definition from Georgia custody law of “failure to provide proper ... control necessary for a child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or morals.”

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Mandated Reporter Requirements: General Principles

Posted In Child Protection Policies, Mandated Reporter

Teacher helping students

Every state has its own requirements for mandated reporters, but there are a few general principles underlying all of the various formulations. For example, some states list specific jobs as mandated reporters, while other states list every adult as a mandated reporter. Whatever your state, if you work with minors, you are almost certainly a mandated reporter. You can check the specific requirements for your state on the website for the state child protection authorities, or at this website for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Men in Early Childhood Education

Posted In Child Protection Policies

Male teacher

One of the unfortunate side effects of increased awareness of child sexual abuse is increased stereotyping of men who work in early childhood education. I have lost count of the many times that clients have told me, “I never hire men to work with children because the risk is too high.” That attitude is understandable, but unfortunate both for men who would be good teachers and children who miss out on a good male role model.

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Mentoring or Grooming? How Do We Tell the Difference?

Posted In Child Protection Policies, Resilience

Man and child talking outside

Numerous mental health studies suggest that one of the best ways to help children develop resilience and recover from adverse childhood experiences is for them to have a trusted confidante outside the family. Yet we also are told that to protect children from sexual abuse, we need to stay alert to signs that a sexual predator is grooming them. I worry sometimes that we are frightening ourselves out of allowing our children to establish beneficial relationships.

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Child Protection Policies Don’t Work When No One Does Their Job

Posted In Child Protection Policies

Sad woman sitting alone with hands covering her face

This story from Los Angeles illustrates that even the best child protection policies do not work if staff and supervisors do not follow through. In this analysis, I’m relying on the reporter’s facts, most of which come from later police reports and depositions in a civil suit against the LA school system. According to the reporter, in November 2014 a parent of a female water polo player at Kennedy High School told the head coach, Eric Pierce, that a 21-year-old coach, Joshua Owens, was dating their 15-year-old girl. Pierce told the investigating officer that he “didn’t take it seriously,” and did not follow up beyond asking Owens about the allegations. Owens, of course, denied any inappropriate conduct.

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