School of Education: Legal Seminar Videos

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting: Reporting Procedures


Reporting Procedures

Dr. Erma Jean Sims,
Sonoma State University

Let's look now at the actual reporting procedures. To report a known or suspected child abuse any employees shall report by telephone to the local child protective agency. The telephone report must be made immediately or as soon as practically possible upon suspicion. Notice the content of your telephone report. This report, by phone, will include the name of the person making the report. I'm Mrs. Smith at Cox Elementary School, I teach in grade 3. This school is located in Santa Rosa. This is a hypothetical school. The name of the child, many children in the schools are called by nicknames. Give the protective services personnel the child's legal name and any other name the child may be called by. So when they come to the school and enquire and ask for Jay, whose real name is Jonathan Edward Smith III, they will be able to find him. Let them know where this child is going to be located. Is the child in your classroom? Upon their arrival will that child be there? Will the child be sitting in the office? Will the child be in the school nurse's room? Will the child be in a conference room with one of the secretaries from the front office? Where is this child going to be? Where is the child currently at and where will they be on the arrival of this protective services person? Then explain the nature and extent of the injury with as much detail and specificity as you possibly can. The Child Protective Services Agency would have a number of questions for you. You will be providing any additional information that they ask for, as a mandated reporter who suspects child abuse. When the verbal report is made the mandated reporter that's you as a teacher shall note the name of the official that you contact. I contacted Mr. Johansson at the Santa Rosa Police Department, badge number 33, at this time and on this date and any instructions or advice that officer Johansson gave you about how you should proceed with your report and the protection of the child. After making that telephone report, within 36 hours you are going to make, complete and file by mailing a written report, which includes a completed department of justice form. You'll notice the form number on this slide. It's the department of justice form SS8572. You will mail this form to the local child protective agency. Ideally that form is in your school's front office. Ideally. Frequently you'll get there and they'll say, oh my gosh, we gave the last one out and no one made a copy. That can happen. If that happens, it's your responsibility to go to the district office and obtain that form. It's your responsibility to get that form, fill it out completely and mail it to the child protective agency. Sometimes when looking at the form there will be questions you can't answer or you aren't quite sure what the appropriate language is. Because you have alerted your principal or vice-principal to this suspected abuse or observed abuse or known child abuse, they are responsible for helping you to accurately fill out this form. So don't hesitate in asking for their assistance in completing this form, and in some instances they will tell you they are going to mail this form for you. Please don't think that your liability is over at that point. It's your responsibility to make sure that form got mailed. Things conveniently get into somebody's in-basket or don't get mailed out because it's under a stack of other papers. So if you need to constantly check in did you mail that department of justice form on child abuse to the protective services agency you might be a pain in the neck to that administrator. I would advise you to mail it yourself, then you know that it actually got mailed. Many of you will be fearful of parent retaliation if it turns out not to have been child abuse of some kind of retaliation against you. Some of you may want to write a written report, mail it, with your signature on it, but give a copy to the administrator anonymously, without your name or signature on it. So if the mandated reporter doesn't want to disclose his or her identity to the district administrator for some fear, he or she shall at least make and mail a copy of the written report to the district without your signature. That gives you some anonymity. But it also means that the actual report that went to the Child Protective Services Agency does has your name on it, because they need to be able to follow up with you. You've alerted the district, you've alerted the site supervisor. But you have not included your name. They will of course get that name when the child protective services person comes to investigate. You can ask the child protective services person not to disclose your name. You have that right. I'm filing this report, but I'm fearful that Mr. White, my principal, is going to can me and fire me for making this report before we have all the facts. So, just do it without your name.

CREDITS: Instruction and Content by Dr. Erma Jean Sims, Sonoma State University. Videography and Technical support by Mark Niemann, Sonoma State University