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Handling & Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

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trina stearns

on 2 April 2014

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Transcript of Handling & Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

Handling & Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
Main Idea
Ethical Decision Model
Which Decision-Making Model is Best?
Implications of Handling and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
Handling and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse often is a challenging task for many school counselors.
Throughout a counselor education program, one should be efficient in the following areas: defining and understanding what should abuse is, knowing the signs and symptoms, how to communicate with parents, aware of legal and ethical standards.
Counselors obtaining these skills is a vital component to their responsibility of handling and reporting child abuse, and it also makes the process a lot less complicated and daunting.
Counselors may find it necessary to seek out any
extra training available at different agencies, such as, U.S. Department of Human Service or state regulated organizations. This training can be facilitated while the counselor is in the role, it will increase the counselor's knowledge base of handling and reporting abuse . Also, counselor can then share the information they gain with their school administration and teachers. This will allow for more people at the school to be trained in the matter of child abuse, which will lead to more students being saved.
Counselors also have an insurmountable role in preventing and child abuse. Along with administrators, they should work harder at establishing these efforts within in school systems. Several options can be provided by the school and operated by the counselor to help prevent child abuse. These options include: instilling morals and values in students and conducting classes for families especially those at risks. By attending these classes, parents, as well as, children can developing coping skills.
Decision-Making Model Adapted from Welfel
Step 1: Be sensitive to the moral dimensions of counseling.
Step 2: Define dilemmas and options.
Step 3: Define the central issue and options.
Step 4: Refer to the professional standards and examine relevant laws and regulations.
Step 5: Search out ethical scholarship.
Step 6: Consult with supervisors and colleagues.
Step 7: Deliberate and decide.
Step 8: Inform supervisor and document.
Step 9: Reflect on the experience.
How does this model work?
Whenever there is a report or suspicion of suspected child abuse, there are several different ways to approach the situation. This model was found extremely useful because it takes a specific process to make a decision. During the first 5 steps, one has to define the dilemma, what options are available, and refer to any references that may be useful for reporting child abuse. In step 6, the counselor needs to consult with their colleagues. This step is incredibly helpful to further investigate the claim. The next 2 steps play a big role because this is the time to make a decision on what to do and document the situation. Lastly, it's extremely beneficial for the counselor to reflect on the incident to make personal and professional growth.
We all share a
to help keep
Children safe
as we take steps to
prevent child abuse
from occurring in the first place.

More than half of the child abuse cases reported came from educators who had contact with the children on a daily basis.

What should you report?

Each state defines abuse, so follow those definitions.

Any suspicion of abuse or neglect should be reported.

Every year
more than
3 million reports of Child Abuse
are made in the United States-
involving more than
6 million children.

Child Protection Team- first report to the team at school.
Child Protective Services- the CPT representative will report to state.
Requirements of confidentiality should be observed.

Where to report abuse:

If you don’t stop this…
Who Will??

Early reporting is vital

Keep notes on behavior,
bruises, or other relevant information

Even after making a report- continue not taking.

When to report abuse:

Educators can make an important contribution to early detection and prevention of abuse.

A caring adult can actually offset or reverse the harm caused by an abusive parent.

Any one who has reason to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected is required to report it.

Educators- this includes teachers, principals,
school nurses, school counselors, administrators, etc.

Child Protection Team-representatives of the school that actually make the report to child services.

Who should report child abuse?

About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.

Most abused children suffer greater emotional damage than physical damage.

Approximately, 70% of children that are abused are under the age of 4.

More than 4 children die every day as a result of abuse.

A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.

Child abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional. Neglect is also a type of child abuse.

Across the Nation
Each day, the safety and well-being
of some children are threatened
by child abuse and neglect.
At the Federal Level
Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act
defines child abuse and neglect as:
Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker,
At the State Level
States also may define child abuse and neglect in criminal statutes.
What is Child Abuse?
Group Members
Amy Bonertz, Allison Butler,
Kimberly Jackson, Shacortney Jefferson, and Trina Stearns

SC 540 Introduction to School Counseling
University of West Alabama
Dr. Nickeda Shelton
Ethical & Legal Project
Intervening effectively in the lives of these children and their families is a shared community concern and responsibility.
which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or
an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

(Child Welfare)
These definitions provide
the grounds for the arrest
and prosecution of the offenders.

(Child Welfare)

American School Counseling
Association Codes of Ethics
Even though this mission statement is concrete, the standards of handling and reporting suspected child abuse vary state-to-state.
According to American School Counselor Association, “it is the professional school counselor’s legal, ethical, and moral responsibility to report suspected cases of child abuse/neglect to the proper authorities”
(Stone, 2011).
Standards for Making a Report Code: 43-21-353: “A report is required when a person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is accused or neglected”
Professionals Required to Report: 43-21-353: “Public or private school employees or caregivers”
Professionals Required to Report Others Persons: 43-21-353: “All other person who have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected must report”

Lonnie Smith Act
Signed by Governor Phil Bryant
July 1. 2013
“Smith dipped three-year-old Lonnie, several times into a bath tub of scalding hot water. Lonnie was severely burned, spent nearly a year in the intensive care unit, has undergone numerous surgeries, is confined to a wheelchair and has permanent injuries that will leave him disabled for the rest of his life” (WLOX, 2013).
Smith received a maximum sentence of 18 years at Mississippi Department of Corrections with a 5 year Post Release Supervision.
Kilah’s Law
Authored by Senator Brice Wiggins
North Carolina

Mississippi Child Abuse Law: Section 43-21-353, 43-21-105

covers the mandated laws and reporting suspicions. They constitutes sexual abuse, emotional abuse, mental injury,
and maltreatement and if an individual fail to report or falsely report, a fine up to 5,000 or 1yr in jail are the results.
A 3year old toddler’s head, Kilah Davenport, was slammed into a wall by her enraged stepfather, Joshua Houser.
Sadly, she suffered a fractured skull, severe damage towards 90% of her brain. Such forcible blow permanently impaired little Kiah, she nearly almost died.
Due to such heinous bodily harm, legislatures gathered up to propose a bill, titled: Kilah’s Law.
American School Counselor Association (2014).
State Mandated Laws and Reporting. Retrieved 24 February 2014. http://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/home/childabusebystate.pdf
Bell, A. (2014) Stepfather found guilty in Kilah’s
Law Child Abuse Case. Retrieved 1 March
2014. http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/27/3659023/no-verdict-yet-in-union-child.html
Caliber Associates. Crosson-Tower. (2003). The
Role of Educators in Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau. (pp. 24-80). Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/educator/index.cfm
Code of Alabama. Title 26. Infants and
incompetents - chapter 14. Reporting of child abuse or neglect. Alabama’s mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting law. Retrieved from https://bb.uwa.edu/courses/1/sc5409114sp1ol/groups/_5367_1//_351514_1/al_reporting_law.pdf
Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect. (2011).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.cfm

References (continued)
Karageorge, K. and Kendall, K. (2008). The Role of Professional Child Care Providers in
Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanual.cfm
Stone, C. (2011) ASCA School Counselor. Child Abuse: Who Must Report? Retrieved 24
February 2014 http://www.ascaschoolcounselor.org/article_content.asp?article=1258
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Child Abuse Prevention and
Treatment Act 42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq; 42 U.S.C. 5116 et seq. 45 CFR 1340. (pp 5-49). Retrieved from https://bb.uwa.edu/courses/1/SC5409114SP1OL/groups/_5367_1//_351515_1/capta2010.pdf
WLOX. (2013) Horrible Child Abuse Case Moves Mississippi to Toughen Law. Retrieved
24 February 2014 http://www.wlox.com/story/21986134/horrific-child-abuse-case-moves-mississippi-to-toughen-the-law
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