Reporting Child Abuse in the Domestic & Educational Setting

Reporting Child Abuse in the Domestic & Educational Setting


Introduction

Pursuant to New York State Education Law, certain School District officers and employees are required to report any incident for which there is a reasonable belief that child abuse occurred in an educational setting by a school employee or volunteer (child abuse in an educational setting).

 

In addition, the New York State Social Services Law requires certain school district employees to report any incident for which there is reasonable belief that child abuse or maltreatment has been committed by a parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible for a child (child abuse in a domestic setting).

 


 

To Report Suspected Abuse

 

The number for the New York State Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-342-3720.

 

Please contact the district office at (315) 642-3441 if you need an alternate means of completing the above forms.

 


 

Applicable Law and Regulations

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting

  • Article 6, Title 6 of the New York State Social Services Law

  • Part 432 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Social Services

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting

  • Article 23-b of the Education Law

  • Section 100.2 (hh) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education

 

 


 

Definition of “Child”

  • Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting: A child under age 18 or a disabled student in residential care up to 21 years of age.

  • Child Abuse in an Educational Setting: A child under the age of 21 enrolled in a New York State school district other than New York City.

 

 


 

Who can be the subject of an abuse report?

  • Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

    • Parent

    • Guardian

    • Custodian

    • Other person legally responsible for the child

  • Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

    • Employee of the school district (including contracted employees)

    • Volunteer providing services to the school district, involving direct student contact.

 

 


 

Location of Potential Abuse

  • Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

    • Community

    • Home

    • Babysitter’s home

    • Child care location

    • Foster home

  • Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

    • Buildings and grounds of public school districts

    • School vehicles

    • All co-curricular and extra-curricular activity sites

    • Any other location where direct contact between an employee of volunteer and a child has allegedly occurred

 

 


 

Definition of Child Abuse

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

Abuse and maltreatment includes actually committing or allowing the commitment of physical and sexual abuse and neglect regarding food, clothing, shelter, education, medical, dental, or surgical care or failing to provide proper supervision or guardianship.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

Abuse and maltreatment includes any intentional or reckless act by an employee or volunteer which injures or kills a child or creates the risk of injury or death. The definition also includes sexual abuse or attempted dissemination of indecent materials to minors.

 

 


 

Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse

 

For Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

Physician, registered physician assistant, surgeon, medical examiner, coroner, dentist, dental hygienist, osteopath, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, resident, intern, psychologist, registered nurse, social worker, emergency medical technician, licensed creative arts therapist, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed mental health counselor, licensed psychoanalyst, hospital personnel engaged in the admission, exam or treatment of persons, Christian Science practitioner, school official, including but not limited to teacher, school guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school nurse, school administrator or any other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate,* social services worker, director of a children’s overnight camp, summer day camp or traveling summer day camp, day care center worker, provider of family day care, employee or volunteer in residential care facility, child care or foster care worker, mental health professional, substance abuse counselor, alcoholism counselor, peace officer, police officer, district or assistant district attorney or investigator, or other law enforcement official.

 

*Full time and part-time compensated coaches shall also be mandated reporters, effective July 1, 2015.

 

For Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

Teachers, teaching assistants, school nurses, school guidance counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school administrators, school board members or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate.

 

 


 

When to Report

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

  • When there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child, or

  • When there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused or maltreated child where the parent, guardian, custodian or other person legally responsible for such child comes before them in their professional or official capacity and states from personal knowledge facts, conditions or circumstances which, if correct, would render the child an abused or maltreated child.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

  • In any case where an oral or written allegation of child abuse in an educational setting is made to a mandated reporter.

 

 


 

The Reporting Process

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

  • Report to be made immediately by mandated reporter by telephone or facsimile on OCFS form;

  • Oral reports to be followed by written report within 48 hours of oral report;

  • Photographs, if taken, to be included with written report

  • The Building Principal or designee is to be informed immediately of any report and is responsible for any follow-up administrative activities as a result of the report

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

  • Promptly prepare written report on SED form forward to school building administrator;

  • School administrator or superintendent of schools shall determine if there is a reasonable suspicion to believe an act of child abuse has occurred;

  • If yes, written parental notification form must be sent and promptly report to law enforcement;

  • Such report shall also be referred to the commissioner of education where the employee or volunteer holds a certification or license

 

Protocol for Reporting Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting

  1. All mandated reporters shall make the initial report to CPS personally and then immediately notify the Building Principal or designee of the report.  The mandated reporter has no further responsibility after notifying the Building Principal. The Building Principal or designee is responsible for all administrative actions as a result of the report.

  2. All other employees who are not mandated reporters shall report all cases of suspected child abuse or maltreatment to the Building Principal.  The reporter will not conduct an investigation but will cooperate with the Child Protective Services workers who will be conducting an investigation.

  3. The mandated reporter is require to either: call the Statewide Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment (800-342-3720) and inform them verbally of the problem; OR contact the above agency by telephone facsimile machine on a form supplied by the Commissioner of Social Services; AND receive a call ID number or facsimile confirmation for retention in school district records and a personal copy.

  4. The Building Principal or designee must then inform the Superintendent of Schools of the information received file a written report on form LDSS 2221-A with the local child protective services agency and the statewide central registry of child abuse and maltreatment within 48 hours after the above report.

 

Protocol for Reporting Child Abuse in an Educational Setting

  1. Promptly fully complete a written report on a form prepared by the Commissioner of Education; and

  2. Promptly personally deliver a copy of such written report to the principal or other chief school officer of the school in which the child abuse allegedly occurred; or

  3. Where the allegation involves an allegation of child abuse by an employee or volunteer of a school other than a school within the school district of the child’s attendance, promptly forward the report to the Superintendent of Schools of the school district of the child’s attendance and to the Superintendent of Schools where the abuse allegedly occurred.

 

 


 

Taking Photographs

 

The law allows for the photographing at public expense of the areas of trauma visible on a child who has been abused or maltreated. All photographing should be conducted with the authorization of the Building Principal, who should also notify the Superintendent of Schools or designee. Any physical evidence, including photographs, should accompany the submission of the written report.

 

 


 

Confidentiality

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting: Reports made are confidential.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting: Reports and other written materials submitted shall be confidential and not re-disclosed, except to law enforcement investigating or pursuant to a court-ordered subpoena.

 

 


 

Student Records

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

  • Notwithstanding contrary provisions of law, mandated reporters are required to comply with all requests for records made by CPS.

  • FERPA exception in health and safety emergencies, if such is determined (34 CFR 99.36), otherwise “so ordered” subpoena required and written notice to parent/guardian.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) exception in health and safety emergencies, if such is determined (34 CFR 99.36), otherwise “so ordered” subpoena required for law enforcement to access student records and written notice to parent/guardian.

 

 


 

Access to School Records by Child Protective Service

 

The District may disclose personally identifiable information from the education records of a student to Child Protective Services personnel when it is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others. In order to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), in deciding whether or not the disclosure should be made, the following should be considered: seriousness of the threat to the health or safety of the student or others; the need for the information in order to meet the emergency; and the extent to which time of the essence.

* Otherwise lawfully issued subpoena needed.

 

 


 

Student Interviews by Child Protective Services Personnel on School Property

 

Effective May 23, 2016, the amended New York State regulations provide as follows:

School districts must give CPS workers and members of a CPS multidisciplinary team access to and an opportunity to interview “any child named as victim in a report of suspected abuse or maltreatment” as well as “any sibling or other child residing in the same home as the named victim” without parental permission or a court order.

School administrators can and should require that CPS workers and other members of a multidisciplinary team who accompany a CPS worker, provide professional identification and also identify the specific children they are seeking to access and/or interview.

 

A District staff member may observe the interview either from the same or a different room (at your discretion).

 

CPS and/or the CPS multidisciplinary team may also be asked to comply with reasonable visitor policies or procedures of the school or school district which would not unreasonably interfere with CPS interviews or investigation. For example, this might include building procedures such as “sign-in and sign-out,” keeping cell phones on vibrate so as not to disrupt instruction, or similar procedures.

 

THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN SHOULD NOT BE CALLED.

 

 


 

Taking a Child into Protective Custody

 

School officials and staff members do not have the power to take a child into protective custody under the Social Services Law or Education Law. A peace officer, police officer, law enforcement official, agent of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to children or a designated employee of the County Department of Social Services may take a child into protective custody without the consent of the parent or guardian. The Building Principal shall cooperate with any of the above officials who produces documentation indicating that a student be taken into protective custody.

 

 


 

Immunity

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting: Immunity from civil and criminal liability for any person, official or institution participating in good faith in carrying out requirements of law; such good faith shall be presumed, provided individual was acting to discharge duties within scope of employment.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting: Any employee or volunteer who reasonably and in good faith makes a report of child abuse in an educational setting to a person and in a manner in accordance with law, shall have immunity from civil liability which might otherwise result by reason of such actions.

 

 


 

Penalties

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

  • Any person, official or institution required to report a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatment who willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Any person, official or institution required to report a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatment who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be civilly liable for the damages proximately caused by such failure.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

  • Willful failure of an employee to prepare and submit a written report of an allegation of child abuse as required by law shall be a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Willful failure of a school administrator or superintendent to submit a written report of child abuse to an appropriate law enforcement agency as required by law shall be a Class A misdemeanor. Any civil penalty shall not exceed five thousand dollars.

  • Willful disclosure of a written record required to be kept confidential pursuant to this law to a person not authorized to receive or review such record is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • A violation of the prohibition against unreported resignations is a Class E felony; and shall also be punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $20,000.

 

 


 

Training

 

Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting:

  • School district shall provide all mandated reporters with written information explaining reporting requirements (Soc. Ser. Law 413[2])

  • Education Law 3209-a requires that all school districts have policies in effect and that ongoing training is provided to staff.

  • Education Law 3028-b requires a school district to notify teachers and all other school officials regarding reporting child abuse.

 

Child Abuse in an Educational Setting:

  • Each school district shall provide ongoing training to all new and current mandated reporters and shall provide annually to each teacher and all other school officials a written explanation concerning the reporting of child abuse in an educational setting (8A NYCRR 100.2[hh][2 and 3]).

  • Education Law 3028-b requires a school district to notify teachers and all other school officials regarding reporting child abuse in an educational setting.

 


 

Accused Employee’s or Volunteer’s Rights

Nothing in the law creates any authority to take adverse action against an employee or volunteer by virtue of a report of alleged child abuse in an educational setting which has not been substantiated.

 

An employee or volunteer who has adverse action taken against him or her by virtue of or in connection with a report pursuant to the law shall be entitled to receive a copy of such report and to respond to the allegations therein. Any employee or volunteer, in addition, shall be entitled to seek disclosure of such report pursuant to Public Officers Law, Article 6.

 


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