MANDATED REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Under the Child Protective Services Act, mandated reporters are required to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. The employees of St. Mary’s School Begin Program are considered mandated reporters, under this law. The employees are not required to discuss their suspicions with parents prior to reporting the matter to the appropriate authorities, nor are they required to investigate the cause of any suspicious marks, behavior or condition prior to making a report. Under the Act, mandated reporters can be held criminally responsible if they fail to report suspected abuse or neglect. We take this responsibility very seriously and will make all warranted reports to the appropriate authorities. The Child Protective Services Act is designed to protect the welfare and best interest of all children.
As mandated reporters, the staff cannot be held liable for reports made to Child Protective Services which are determined to be unfounded, provided the report was made in “good faith.”
Causes for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect include, but are not limited to:
- Unusual bruising, marks, or cuts on the child’s body
- Severe verbal reprimands
- Improper clothing relating to size, cleanliness, season
- Transporting a child without appropriate child restraints (e.g. car seats, seat belts, etc.)
- Dropping off or picking up a child while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
- Not providing appropriate meals including a drink for your child
- Leaving a child unattended for any amount of time
- Failure to attend to the special needs of a disabled child
- Sending a sick child to school over medicated to hide symptoms, which would typically require the child to be kept at home until symptoms subside.
- Children who exhibit behavior consistent with an abusive situation
All BEGIN PROGRAM staff members are mandated reporters and the phone numbers needed in order to complete this are found in each classroom post near the phones. St. Mary’s School Begin Program wants to ensure the safety of the children in our care even when not in our care. The following policies pertain that are set forth by the State of Minnesota:
Who Must Report
All staff of the St. Mary’s School Begin Program is legally required and mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you know or have reason to believe a child is being or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years you must immediately (within 24 hours) make a report. This reporting responsibility cannot be shifted to a supervisor or the management of BEGIN PROGRAM.
Where to Report
- If a staff member suspects that a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
- All reports regarding incidents of suspected abuse or neglect of children occurring within a family or in the community should be made to:
- Stevens County Human Services: 320-208-6600 and/or Stevens County Sheriff/Morris Police Department: 320-208-6500
- All reports concerning suspected abuse or neglect of children occurring within the St. Mary’s School Begin Program, call:
- Department of Human Service Licensing Division’s Maltreatment Intake: 651-431-6600
- If the report does not involve possible abuse or neglect, but does involve possible violations of Minnesota Statutes or Rules that govern BEGIN PROGRAM, call:
- Department of Human Services, Licensing Division: 651-431-6500
What to Report
The definitions of maltreatment are contained in the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556) and are listed at the end of this policy.
Reports include the name of the child and the factual information that the reporter has seen or has been told to them. Include the nature and extent of the maltreatment/or possible licensing violation. For reports concerning suspected abuse or neglect occurring within a licensed facility, the report should include any actions taken by the facility in response to the incident.
An oral report of suspected abuse or neglect made to one of the above agencies by a mandated reporter must be followed by a written report to the same agency within 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays.
An employer of any mandated reporter shall not retaliate against the mandated reporter for reports made in good faith or against a child with respect to whom the report is made. The Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act contains specific provision regarding civil actions that can be initiated by mandated reporters who believe that retaliation has occurred.
Failure to Report
A mandated reporter who knows or has reason to believe a child is or has been neglected or abused and fails to report maltreatment that is found to be serious or recurring maltreatment may be disqualified from employment in positions allowing direct contact with persons receiving services from programs licensed by the MN Department of Human Services, the MN Department of Health and unlicensed Personal Care Provider Organizations.
When the facility has reason to know that an internal or external report of alleged or suspected maltreatment has been made, the facility must complete an internal review within 30 calendar days and take corrective action, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of children in care. The internal review must include an evaluation of whether:
(i) Related policies and procedures were followed;
(ii) The policies and procedures were adequate;
(iii) There is a need for additional staff training;
(iv) The reported event is similar to past events with the children or the services involved; and
(v) There is a need for corrective action by the license holder to protect the health and safety of children in care.
Primary and Secondary Person or Position to Ensure Internal Reviews are Completed
The internal review will be completed by Program Principal or designee. If this individual is involved in the alleged or suspected maltreatment, Principal Chairmen or designee will be responsible for completing the internal review.
Documentation of the Internal Review
The facility must document completion of the internal review and make internal reviews accessible to the commissioner immediately upon the commissioner’s request.
Corrective Action Plan
Based on the results of the internal review, the license holder must develop, document, and implement a corrective action plan designed to correct current lapses and prevent future lapses in performance by individuals or the license holder, if any.
The license holder must provide training to all staff related to the mandated reporting responsibilities as specified in the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556). The license holder must document the provision of this training in individual personnel records, monitor implementation by staff, and ensure that the policy is readily
Both parents and staff served by or employed by St. Mary’s School Begin Program will receive this reporting policy at enrollment or employment at BEGIN PROGRAM. All parents and staff will receive an annually updated copy of this policy and thereafter new staff and new families will receive the policy at employment or enrollment with BEGIN PROGRAM.