5460 - Child Abuse, Maltreatment or Neglect in a Domestic Setting

 

Adoption Date: 11/9/2000, Revised: 3/14/2013; 02/12/15, 08/10/17 
5000 - Students

5460 Child Abuse, Maltreatment or Neglect in a Domestic Setting

The Board of Education recognizes that, because of their sustained contact with school-aged children, employees are in an excellent position to identify abused, maltreated or neglected children and refer them for treatment and protection. The Board further recognizes the specific dictates of law which require school officials to report suspected instances of child abuse and/or maltreatment (which includes neglect) in a domestic setting.

The purpose of mandatory reporting is to identify suspected abused and maltreated children as soon as possible, so that such children determined to be abused or maltreated can be protected from further harm and, where appropriate, can be offered services to assist him or her and his or her family.

School officials, who have reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or maltreatment, must immediately report this to the New York State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment (Central Register), as required by law. No conditions may be imposed which limit their responsibility to report. A school official is defined as:

·         Teacher

·         Guidance counselor

·         Psychologist

·         Nurse

·         Social Worker

·         Full or part-time paid athletic coach

·         Administrator

·         Any school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate.

The school official will also report the matter to the building principal.

The report shall be made by telephone or by telephone facsimile machine on a form supplied by the Commissioner of Social Services. A written report shall be made within forty-eight hours to the appropriate local child protective service, and to the statewide Central Register.

School employees who are not school officials, as defined above, but who have reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or maltreatment are encouraged to report to the Central Register. However, the school employee must report the matter to the building principal. If the matter has not yet been reported to the Central Register, the building principal shall make the report, in accordance with state law. In being required to file such report, the building principal does not have discretion.

School employees or officials will not contact the child's family or any other person to determine the cause of the suspected abuse or maltreatment. It is not the responsibility of the school official or employee to prove that the child has been abused or maltreated.

Any school official or employee who has cause to suspect that the death of any child is a result of child abuse or maltreatment must report that fact to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner.

In accordance with the law, any school official who fails to report an instance of suspected child abuse or maltreatment may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and may be held liable for the damages caused by the failure to report. The law grants immunity from any liability to persons who, in good faith, report instances of child abuse.

School employees will not be subject to retaliatory action, as defined in state law, as a result of making a report when they reasonably suspect that a child has been abused or maltreated.

The Board recognizes that knowingly reporting a false claim of child abuse is a violation of state law and this policy acknowledges that it is a crime to do so. The District will make every reasonable effort to ensure the integrity of the District’s child abuse reporting process and procedure.

School District Relationship with Local Social Service District

The School District will cooperate, to the extent possible, with authorized child protective services workers in investigations of alleged child abuse. The Superintendent, or his or her designee, will represent the District when collaborating with local social service agencies to address instances of abuse or maltreatment, and in the development of policy and procedures regarding abuse or maltreatment (including educational neglect). In addition, the Superintendent will share a copy of the District’s attendance policy, 5100, with the local social service district.

Training Program and Dissemination of Information

The School District shall maintain an ongoing training program which will address the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment, including the legal implications of reporting and not reporting. Attendance at sessions of this training program shall be required of all school officials. Attendance records shall be kept, and notations will be made in personnel files as to the dates of attendance.

The Superintendent shall develop, with input from appropriate personnel, a plan for implementation of such a training program, to be approved by the Board. In addition, the policy and regulations will be included in all employee handbooks and distributed annually to all school officials who are not covered under existing handbooks. The Superintendent will prepare and implement all regulations as are necessary to accomplish the intent of this policy.

As required by state law and regulation, the District shall publicize the toll-free number for reporting child abuse and neglect to the Central Register (800-342-3720), and directions for accessing the NYS Office of Children and Family Services website (http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cps/), in both English and Spanish. 

Policy References:
Child Protective Services Act of 1973, Social Services Law §§411 et seq.
Social Services Law §34-a
Family Court Act §1012
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. §1232g, 45 CFR §99.36
Education Law §3209-a 
Penal Law 240.50

Policy Cross References:
 » 5100 - Attendance Policy