Youth Services Law

Showing 42 posts in Mandated Reporter.

Mandated Reporting: Unsupervised Children

Posted In Mandated Reporter

child running in neighborhood across crosswalk

One vexing question in the mandated reporter area is when to report children who appear to have no adults supervising them. It is more difficult than most situations of abuse or neglect because there is a growing body of research that children need unsupervised time to develop into psychologically healthy adults.

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Mandated Reporting: Emotional Abuse

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mother criticising daughter

One area of mandated reporting that is included in most state statutes but rarely explained is emotional abuse. I see emotional abuse listed often in training programs, but there is little discussion of what it looks like or when to report. I also have seen no prosecutions for failure to report emotional abuse. Nevertheless, emotional abuse is a mandated reporter’s responsibility in most states.

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Mandated Reporting: More Cautionary Tales

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Teddy Bear hiding eyes

I’ve run across several news reports that illustrate how strictly authorities are applying mandated reporter laws. In this case from Colorado, a stepfather allegedly told a school principal that a school social worker had inappropriately touched a nine-year-old child. I have not been able to find any description of what the stepfather actually said, but the judge stated that “it was very difficult to discern” what the report was. Nevertheless, according to this account, the judge decided that the principal had “reasonable cause” to believe abuse had occurred.

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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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New North Carolina Mandated Reporting Law

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North Carolina flag

North Carolina has a new mandated reporting law as of December 1, 2019. It does not change any of the older laws, but adds a new reporting requirement for certain offenses.

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Webinar about Mandated Reporting

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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

Posted In Mandated Reporter

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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Mandated Reporting Age of Consent

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Group of young teenagers

An incident from Vermont illustrates a not-uncommon conundrum for mandated reporters, deciding when to report sexual activity by minors above the age of consent. The pastor of a church learned of consensual sexual activity between a minor in the church and the church’s youth pastor. Because the girl was 16 year old, the age of consent in Vermont, the pastor’s lawyer initially told him that he did not need to report it.

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Mandated Reporter: Sexting Laws

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Teenager sitting on bed texting

A recent court ruling continues the trend of insanity surrounding teenage sexting. A 16-year-old girl performed oral sex on a male friend, and one of them videoed it. The girl later sent the video to two friends by text message. When she later fell out with one of the friends, he showed the video to a school police officer. The prosecutor charged her with distributing child pornography, and Maryland’s highest appellate court recently affirmed the conviction.

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