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Child Abuse Identification and Reporting

Child Abuse

What Does the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law Require? The Child Abuse Law (Pen. Code § 11166) requires: … any child care custodian,  health practitioner, employee of a child protective agency, child visitation monitor, firefighter, animal control officer or humane society officer who has knowledge of or observes a child, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse, shall report the known or suspected instance of child abuse to a child protective agency immediately or as soon as practically possible by telephone and send a written report thereof within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident... For the purpose of this article, “reasonable suspicion” means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse. Child care custodian includes teacher; an instructional aide; a teacher’s aide or a teacher’s assistant employed by any public or private school, who has been trained in the duties imposed by this article, if the school district has so warranted to the State Department of Education…(Pen. Code, § 11166.5, subd. (a).)

What Are the Educator’s Responsibilities?  School teachers, nurses, counselors principals, supervisors of child welfare and attendance, and other designated school personnel who are mandated to report known or suspected child abuse cases, play a critical role in the early detection of child abuse and neglect.  Symptoms or signs of abuse and neglect are often first seen by school personnel.  Because immediate investigation by child protective agencies may save a child from repeated abuse, school personnel should not hesitate to report suspicious injuries or behavior.  Their duty is to report, not investigate. California Penal Code states that a mandated reporter who fails to make a report of known or suspected child abuse may lose their credential. Under California State law, educators, are mandated to report suspected child abuse.  Knowledge or reasonable suspicion of child abuse is not privileged information, and must be reported.

Child Abuse Identification & Reporting Guidelines

What questions will I be asked when I call?   The mandated reporter must give his or her name when reporting known or suspected child abuse to a child protective agency. The reporter's name is confidential, however, and it may be disclosed only in certain very limited situations, as provided by law. The following information is also required when making the telephone report of suspected child abuse to the child protective agency: Name of child, name of family, address, ethnicity and language, other siblings, school location, what is being reported, present circumstances or nature and extent of injury, location of the child, others in the home and mandated reporter's name.

Within 36 hours of making the telephone report, a written report (Suspected Child Abuse Report #SS8572) must also be filed by the mandated reporter to the child protective agency that was called.

Definitions and General Instructions for Completion of Form SS 8572

Upon completion of the investigation or after there has been a final disposition in the matter, the investigating agency shall inform the person required to report on the results of the investigation and of any action the agency is taking with regard to the child or family.In cases of an immediate emergency always call 911 for Law Enforcement intervention. Where the situation is not an emergency needing the police, reports should be made to the CPS using the California County Emergency Response Child Abuse Reporting Telephone Numbers listed by county.