MISSISSIPPI BEND AREA EDUCATION AGENCY. Reporting Procedures Code No: 410.1A

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1 MISSISSIPPI BEND AREA EDUCATION AGENCY Regulation Title: Mandatory Reporter - Child Abuse Reporting Procedures Code No: 410.1A References: Board Policy Date of Adoption March 14, 1990 REVISED: November 8, 1995; June 10, 1998; June 20, 2007; June 10, 2009; June 12, 2013 REVIEWED: It is the policy of the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (Agency) to comply with Iowa Code dealing with Mandatory Reporter duties to report suspected child abuse. INTRODUCTION Most Agency employees are Mandatory Reporters under Iowa law. Mandatory Reporters are legally obligated to report incidents of child abuse inflicted by a person responsible for the care of the child. Mandatory Reporters are also required to report a reasonable belief that a child under the age of 12 has been sexually abused by anyone. The abuser need not be a person responsible for the care of the child. Reports must be made directly to the Department of Human Services. Iowa law also requires the Agency adopt uniform procedures for investigating allegations of abuse of students by local education agency (LEA) and area education agency (AEA) employees. Such employees are not persons responsible for the care of the child under Iowa law; thus, not subject to investigation by the Department of Human Services (with the exception noted above of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12). Such employees are, however, subject to criminal, civil, and other administrative actions, including loss of license and/or termination. This policy addresses mandatory child abuse reporting. Policy B addresses investigations of alleged abuse of students by LEA or Agency employees.

2 Definition of Terms MANDATORY CHILD ABUSE REPORTING PROCEDURES Administrative Regulation Page 2 Iowa law requires Mandatory Reporters to report suspected child abuse, to the Department of Human Services within 24 hours. Mandatory Reporters include any of the following persons who, in the scope of their professional practice or in their employment responsibilities, examine, attend, counsel, or treat children: Social workers, certified psychologists, counselors, or mental health professionals; and AEA employees who hold a certification, license, or letter of professional recognition from the State f Iowa, which includes but is not limited to licensed employees, certified Para-educators, and holders of a coaching authorization. Child Abuse is defined by Iowa law as involving: Physical Abuse Any non-accidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of it, suffered by a child as the result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child (The Department of Human Services uses a definition of injury the requires evidence of the injury still exist 24 hours after the abuse occurs); Mental injury Any mental injury to a child s intellectual or psychological capacity as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child s ability to function within the child s normal range or performance and behavior as the result of the acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of the child, if the impairment is diagnosed and confirmed by a licensed physician or qualified mental health professional; Sexual abuse The commission of a sexual offense with or to a child; Child prostitution The acts or omissions of a person responsible for the care of a child that allow, permit, or encourage the child to engage in prostitution; Presence of illegal drugs in the child s body as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of the person responsible for the care of the child; Denial of critical care The failure on the part of a person responsible for the care of a child to provide for the adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or mental health treatment, supervision, or other care necessary for the child s

3 Page 3 health and welfare when financially able to do so or when offered financial or other reasonable means to do so; Manufacturing or possession of a dangerous substance The person responsible for the care of a child has, in the presence of the child, manufactured a dangerous substance; Bestiality in the presence of a child; Knowingly allowing a person custody or control of, or unsupervised access to a child, after knowing the person is required to register or is on the sex offender registry for child endangerment; or The person responsible for the care of the child has knowingly allowed the child access to obscene material or has knowingly disseminated or exhibited such material to the child. "A person responsible for the care of the child" means: A parent, guardian or foster parent; A relative or any other person with whom the child resides and who assumes care or supervision of the child, without reference to the length of time or continuity of such residence; an employee or Agent of any public or private facility providing care for a child including an institution, hospital, health care facility, group home, mental health center, residential treatment center, shelter care facility, detention center or child care facility; or Any person providing care for a child, but with whom the child does not reside, without reference to the duration of the care (such as a babysitter). Reporting Contact with Department of Human Services Mandatory Reporters who have a reasonable belief a child has suffered abuse by a person responsible for the care of that child must make an oral and written report to the Department of Human Services. In addition, any Mandatory Reporter who has a

4 Page 4 reasonable belief that a child under the age of 12 has been sexually abused by anyone, shall contact the Department of Human Services and report his or her suspicion. The oral report must be made within 24 hours of observing evidence of suspected abuse. The report can be made by telephone or in person. A written report will be made available to the Department of Human Resources within 48 hours of the oral report. Report forms are available in the Strategic Management and Evaluation office. The Mandatory Reporter will cooperate fully with the Department of Human Services in its investigation. The Agency recognizes it has no obligation to contact the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a child suspected to have been abused. The failure on the part of an employee who is a mandatory reporter to make a report as required by law may subject the employee to disciplinary sanctions up to and including discharge. Contact with AEA and LEA In addition, the Mandatory Reporter should inform his or her immediate AEA supervisor and the involved student s building principal that a report will be made. A confidentiality provision attaches at the time an oral report is made; thus, any conversation with the supervisor and building principal must occur prior to the oral reporting. The Mandatory Reporter will maintain a copy of the written report in his or her personal file for the sole purpose of documenting the fact the employee reported the suspected abuse. Include in such report, appropriate notations as to who was contacted as a result of the report (i.e. building principal and Agency supervisor). If the Mandatory Reporter receives a written report from the Department of Human Services following the investigation, such report will also be filed with the Mandatory Reporter s copy of the

5 Page 5 suspected abuse report or destroyed. Employees should take precautions to keep these documents confidential. The Mandatory Reporter shall maintain the confidentiality of the report at all stages following the oral report of suspected abuse. No person shall dissuade or discourage a Mandatory Reporter from filing a report of suspected abuse. Training Agency employees who are Mandatory Reporters will be given a 2 hour training session within 6 months of initial employment and training every 5 years thereafter. This policy will be disseminated to all new employees who are Mandatory Reporters within 1 month of initial employment. Personal Liability Mandatory Reporters who knowingly fail to report suspected child abuse can be found guilty of a simple misdemeanor and/or civilly liable for the damages proximately caused by the failure to report. Mandatory Reporters who knowingly fail to report suspected child abuse may also be subject to Agency discipline, up to and including termination.

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