PRP 2412 – Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse

PRP 2412 – Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse

Document History

Date Activity Organization
12/23/2014 Issued as Interim Policy John Loonan, Vice President for Administration and Finance
2/18/2015 Recommended General Administrative Committee
4/22/2015 Endorsed University Forum
5/1/2015 Issued University President

1. RATIONALE FOR POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to create a supportive environment and to promote the safety and security of children who participate in programs and activities held on the Bloomsburg University campus, and to comply with the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law and Board of Governors Policy 2014-01.

2. KEYWORDS Mandated Reporter, Authorized Adult, Child, Minor, Child Abuse

3. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

This policy is intended to ensure Bloomsburg University’s compliance with the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law and Board of Governors Policy 2014-01. Accordingly, this policy defines who is a mandated reporter of child abuse and the protocols that mandated reporters must follow with respect to reporting suspected child abuse.

This policy is referenced in Bloomsburg University PRP 2410, Background Screening, Protection of Minors, and Volunteerism.

4. POLICY

1. Applicability

This policy applies to all individuals who are employed by or perform services, including independent contractors and volunteers, for the University and to all programs and activities involving children/minors, including graduate and undergraduate course offerings, programs operated by the university or non-university sponsored programs on campus, and programs under the direction and authority of the university at locations off campus. This policy applies to such programs and activities whether they are limited to daily activities or involve the housing of children/minors. Examples of programs governed by this policy include, but are not limited to: summer camps, specialty camps (e.g., academic and/or sports camps), outreach activities, workshops, conferences, tutoring, educational programs, and affiliated entity activities.

2. DEFINITIONS:

a. Child Abuse: Child abuse is defined in Board of Governors Policy 2014-01 and the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa. C.S. § 6303. That definition includes intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury or serious mental injuries to a child, or sexual abuse/sexual exploitation of a child by any act or failure to act; including:

i. Physical Abuse: Includes, but is not limited to acts or omissions that cause, or fail to prevent, a serious physical injury to a child.

ii. Sexual Abuse: Includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, molestation, incest, indecent exposure, or otherwise exploiting a child in a manner in which the child is used for gratification or sexual enjoyment by another person.

iii. Emotional or Mental Abuse: Acts or omissions that have an actual or likely severe negative impact on a child’s emotional and behavioral development, including those resulting from persistent or severe emotional mistreatment.

iv. Neglect: A severe or persistent failure to provide for a child’s physical, emotional, or basic needs.

b. Mandated Reporter: Board of Governors Policy 2014-01, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, 23 PA C.S. §6311 and Bloomsburg University policy, designate all Bloomsburg University employees, volunteers and contractors performing services for the University are deemed to be mandated reporters. This includes individuals who fall within one or more of the following classifications: all administrators, faculty, academic staff, adjunct faculty, clinical faculty, support staff (including regular, temporary, and on-call), student employees, coaches, contractors, volunteers, graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, and leased employees. University contractors and volunteers are also deemed mandated reporters under this policy.

c. Child (Minor): A person under 18 years of age. Children may be enrolled undergraduate/graduate students; students “dually enrolled” with the university and in elementary, middle, or high school; employees; or participants in programs or activities.

3. Child Abuse and Child Neglect Reporting

a. All mandated reporters shall call 911 or Bloomsburg University Police Department at 570-389-4168 for an in progress child assault.

b. All mandated reporters shall make an immediate report of suspected child abuse to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Childline by calling 1-800-932-0313 if the reporter suspects that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

i. The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service.

ii. The mandated reporter is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child.

iii. A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.

iv. An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.

c. Immediately following the report to DHS the mandated reporter must notify the Officer in Charge at Bloomsburg University Police Department in person or by calling 570-389-4168. The Director of University Police and the Director of Human Resources will assume responsibility for facilitating the university’s cooperation with the investigation of the report.

i. DHS does not require more than one report from Bloomsburg University.

d. After an oral report is made to DHS under paragraph 2 above, a written report shall also be made within 48 hours to DHS using electronic technologies when available, or to the Columbia County Children and Youth Agency.

e. Nothing in this section shall require a child to come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse.

f. Nothing in this section shall require the mandated reporter to identify the person responsible for the child abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse.

4. Protecting Identity of Reporters

Bloomsburg University and PA Childline will not release data that will identify the individual who made a report of suspected child abuse or who cooperated in a subsequent investigation except to a law enforcement official investigating allegations of false reports under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4906.1 (relating to false reports of child abuse). Law enforcement officials shall treat all reporting sources as confidential informants.

5. Intimidation, Retaliation or Obstruction in Retaliation to Reporting

Reporters of child abuse are protected by the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa.C.S. §6311, against intimidation and retaliation for having filed a report of child abuse. Additionally, 23 Pa.C.S. §6318, provides immunity for good faith reporting of child abuse.

Any person who experiences intimidation or retaliation for having reported child abuse or is obstructed in investigating a report of child abuse should immediately report the act to the Director of University Police or the Director of Human Resources. Bloomsburg University will not tolerate any act which obstructs, impedes, impairs, prevents or interferes with the making of a child abuse report or the conducting of an investigation into suspected child abuse.

6. Violations of Policy

University mandated reporters who willfully fail to report suspected child abuse may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment. Mandated reporters may also be subject to criminal prosecution pursuant to the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa.C.S. §6319, for willfully failing to report suspected child abuse.

7. Training

All University employees and volunteers will be trained on child abuse reporting protocols on an annual basis. All contracted employees will be required to acknowledge understanding and compliance to this policy prior to performing services at Bloomsburg University.