Could you be a Mandated Reporter

You work in a pre-school and one student in particular has caught your attention. Their emotions throughout the day are focused around anger, their lunch is lacking nutrition, and their clothes are dirty and have a potent smell to them. This student often spends most of their time alone in the corner not wanting to interact with the other students. Based on what you’re seeing you suspect neglect or abuse at home. What do you do next to get this child the help they need? 

Are you a Mandated Reporter?

We all want to live in a safe environment free from abuse, neglect and fear, especially when it comes to our children.  According to Wikipedia, “in the US, there are approximately 3.6 million mandated calls each year, 9,000/day, 63,000/week, affecting on average 1 out of 10 U.S. families with children under the age of 18 each year (there are 32.2 million such families)”  Those numbers are heartbreaking and it’s up to us to make a change. 

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Child Abuse Hotline

Could you be a Mandated Reporter?

How do you know if you qualify to be a mandated reporter? We all are, although there are jurisdictions set in place. Mandated reporting requirements usually fall under professionals who are frequently surrounded by children, such as teachers, childcare providers, social services providers, foster parents, law enforcement, firefighters, animal control officers, doctors and other medical professionals. Reporting is a duty we all should practice if we were to see signs or are suspicious of a child or anyone being abused. This can and does also happen to adults and the elderly. 

Any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under the age of 18 qualifies for child abuse. Abuse takes on many forms such as, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, medical abuse, and neglect. All of these forms of abuse will leave trauma within the child and it’s up to us to know what symptoms to look for. 

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What to look for as a Mandated Reporter

  • The child doesn’t have enough food. 
  • The child doesn’t have proper clothing.
  • The child has non-accidental bruises or cuts on their body, or that don’t match their explanation. 
  • The child exhibits inappropriate sexual behavior or knowledge of his/her age. 
  • Hoarding or stealing food. 
  • The child withdrawals from friends or activities.
  • Frequent absence from school.
  • Changes in behavior, such as aggression, anger or hostility. 
  • Delays in emotional development. 
  • Excessive weight or lack thereof. 

What to do as a Mandated Reporter

First off if you or anyone else is in immediate danger, call 911 immediately. If you are calling to report possible child abuse/neglect, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453). Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect. Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family. 

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