According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Federal fiscal year 2020, about 3.9 million referrals were made to child protective services concerning the safety and well-being of approximately 7.1 million children. Last year, an estimated 618,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect nationwide. The most common type of maltreatment is neglect.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month so this is a good time to make sure educators and school staff are familiar with their responsibilities in preventing and reporting child abuse. To help remove barriers that affect students’ readiness to learn, school personnel must be able to recognize when children are being abused and quickly intervene on their behalf.
Child abuse can be more than just bruises and broken bones. Child maltreatment includes physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and exploitation, emotional abuse, threat of harm, and abuse of children with disabilities. While physical abuse may be easier to detect, emotional abuse and neglect leave deep, lasting, invisible scars.
While each state has its own laws and regulations related to reporting incidents of child abuse, in nearly all states all school employees are considered mandatory reporters. This means that if any school staff member has reasonable cause to believe a child is being abused, they must report suspected incidents to one or more of the following: local law enforcement, child protection services, and building or district administrators. In order to protect the child, state statutes require school employees to report when they “have reason to suspect,” “have observed,” or “know or have a reasonable cause to believe” that a child is abused or neglected.
Vector Training (formerly SafeSchools) offers Child Abuse: Identification & Intervention and Child Abuse: Mandatory Reporting courses to help you deliver this important training to all staff in an easy-to-use format. We offer state-specific versions of our Child Abuse: Mandatory Reporting course for numerous states.
We also offer a series of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention in Schools microlearning courses. This efficient and affordable training program can help you: