5.A.10 Child Abuse Reporting

Safe Schools 

 


Administrative Procedure: Child Abuse Reporting

 

EFFECTIVE DATE:

May 25, 2005

 

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ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE CODE:

5.A.10

AMENDED DATE:

 

Policy Reference

 

 

Legal Reference

 

 

 

 

 





















In accordance with the Child and Family Services Act (June 2012), the Border Land School Division Board specifically requires that every staff member who, in the course of his/her professional or official duties, has reason to suspect that a child has suffered or is suffering from abuse that may have been caused or permitted by a person who has or had charge of the child, shall immediately report the suspected abuse to a child care agency. In support of this requirement to report child abuse, the following definitions, informant protection, sharing of information, communication and cooperation of other agencies, and the accompanying guidelines and procedures shall govern the actions of all personnel employed by the Border Land School Division.

 

Definitions

 

The following definitions are based on the Reporting of Child Protection and Child Abuse: Handbook and Protocols for Manitoba Service Providers, issued jointly by the Ministers of Manitoba Family Services and Labour, Manitoba Justice, Manitoba Health, and Manitoba Education (August, 2013):

 

 

  • Child means a person under the age of eighteen. Children or youth with special needs, or with designation of a Vulnerable Person would be included in this category regardless of their age.
  • Abuse means an act or omission by the parent or person in charge of the child which results in harm to the child. It includes, but is not necessarily restricted to, physical beating, sexual abuse, and failure to provide reasonable protection for the child from physical harm.

     

  • Sexual abuse means any exploitation of a child, whether consensual or not, for the sexual gratification of a parent or person in charge of the child and includes, but is not necessarily restricted to, sexual molestation, sexual assault, and the exploitation of the child for purposes of pornography or prostitution. Sexual activity between children may constitute sexual abuse if the difference in ages between the children is so significant that the older is clearly taking sexual advantage of the younger.

     

  • Emotional abuse means acts or omissions on the part of the parent or person in charge of the child. Such acts or omissions include but are not restricted to:
  • Specific signs and symptoms that may indicate child abuse are contained in Section 6 of Reporting of Child Protection and Child Abuse: Handbook and Protocols for Manitoba Service Providers (August 2013).
    • Teachers or school administrators do not determine if child abuse has occurred, but provide information about a child or situation to Police or CFS.
  • In situations where there is uncertainty with respect to reporting or recognizing child abuse, schools are encouraged to consult with child caring agencies. Besides providing a useful check on inappropriate reporting, a consultation allows assistance and resources to be mobilized on behalf of a child who may be at risk before a crisis develops.
  • The person who suspects the abuse has the legal responsibility to report.
  • The person making the report is expected to inform the principal of the report.
  • The principal is to report the contact with CFS (or the police or RCMP) to the Assistant Superintendent, using the division’s template (fillable PDF and copy at the end of this section).
  • Any unwillingness or inability to provide appropriate care, control, affection or stimulation for a child.
  • Making inappropriate demands upon a child.
  • Exposing a child to frequent family violence tending to produce permanent or long-term emotional disability, including:
  • Non-organic failure to thrive.
  • Developmental retardation.
  • Serious anxiety, depression or withdrawal.
  • Serious behavioural disturbances.
  • Chronic verbal abuse.
  • A person in charge of a child means a person responsible for a child’s welfare and includes a guardian or person within the context of a family relationship or foster parent.

      

     Protection for Informant

     

    As per The Child and Family Services Act, “no action lies against a person for providing information in good faith” and “no person shall disclose the identity of the informant” (Section 18 – Child and Family Services Act).

     

    Information-Sharing and Confidentiality

     

  • To ensure that the best course of action is taken, the school shall cooperate with the authorized agencies and professionals in the mutual sharing of information necessary for any investigation and/or follow up of child abuse.
  • With the exception of providing necessary information to authorized persons conducting a child abuse investigation or providing follow up, information related to the allegations or suspicions of child abuse is to be held in strict confidence. In particular, any written records, notations or reports are to be considered confidential and are not to be placed in the child’s regular or cumulative record or in any other way allowed to become known to persons who have no legitimate need for such information.

     

    Communication and Cooperation with Community Agencies

     

    It is important to work together with all elements of the community, so the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent shall take any necessary actions to pursue and maintain open channels of communication with child caring agencies and police, including:

  • Develop and maintain clear and mutual understanding of relative jurisdictions, roles and responsibilities.
  • Identify concerns or problems which exist or may arise in the working relations of school, police and child caring agency personnel.
  • Develop and implement specific procedures to solve such problems.

    Staff Knowledge of Procedure

    Principals shall ensure that all members of their staff are familiar with this BLSD procedure and are adequately prepared through annual review of the Manitoba protocols, including: Reporting of Child Protection and Child Abuse: Handbook and Protocols for Manitoba Service Providers (August 2013), Education and Child and Family Services Protocol for Children and Youth in Care (May 2013), and Companion Guide: Education and Child and Family Services Protocol for Children and Youth in Care (May 2013).

     

    BLSD Clinical Services Team and BLSD Student Services can support schools in understanding and using the BLSD procedure and the expectations dictated by the protocols and the Child and Family Services Act. 

     

    Principals shall ensure that all staff are knowledgeable and understand;

    • signs of child abuse,
    • reporting to and consulting with CFS
    • CFS follow up
    • confidentiality (disclosures, reports, consultations)
    • Communication within BLSD (School and Division Admin)

       

      Child Abuse Reporting

      Background Information

       

Procedures for Consultation and Reporting

 

Consultation

 

 A consultation to CFS is made when any staff member questions if a child is in need of protection or suspects child abuse. In situations where the person is unclear as to the meaning of “in need of protection” or “abuse”, inquire or consult by calling Child and Family Services.

When consulting with Child and Family Services, the person provides details of the situation (ie what he/she saw, what he/she heard the child say) without providing any identifying information (ie names of the child or others involved)

This consultation is to be distinguished from formal reporting. Even if Child and Family Services determine that there is no reason to proceed with a formal report, the person shall inform the principal of the school of the consultation with CFS and the situation with the child. Together, the principal and the person who consulted will decide what follow up might be taken to best support the child.

 

Reporting

 

Where a staff member has information that a child is in need of protection or suspects child abuse, he or she shall inform the principal of the school of such suspicions and of the fact that a report to CFS will be made.

The reporter shall make an oral (telephone) report immediately to one of Child and Family Services Intake Agencies in the BLSD area.

The Designated Intake and Emergency After Hours Agencies (DIAs) include:

  1. Area 2: Child and Family Services of Central Manitoba - 1-204-857-8571
  2. Area 11: Rural and Northern Services – Eastman - 1-204-268-6232
  3. Southern Authority – 1-204-944-0040
  4. Province wide intake and emergency after-hours child and family services 1-866-345-9241

 

For a full list of all CFS agencies, visit: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/cfsagencies

 

If the designated CFS intake is not available, the reporter shall contact the local police or RCMP detachment.

 

The legal responsibility to report remains with the person who suspects the abuse and cannot be transferred. The principal may be present while the staff member makes the CFS contact.

 

When reporting, Section 7 (pages 37-38) of the Reporting of Child Protection and Child Abuse (August 2013) handbook indicates that the following information must be provided:

    • Date and time of entry
    • Name of school
    • Full name, age, gender and address of the child and parent(s)/guardians(s)
    • Your relationship to the child
    • Any immediate concerns about the child’s safety
    • A description of the type of suspected abuse. (Record how the child looks, and other indicators of the abuse or neglect that you have observed. For more information on indicators of child abuse and neglect, please refer to Section 6 of Reporting of Child Protection and Child Abuse (August 2013) handbook).
    • Date and time of the disclosure, as well as any direct quotes of the disclosure (if applicable)
    • A description of the family, including names and ages of other children in the household
    • Visits and telephone calls to the unit/area by the parent(s)/guardians(s)

 

  • Additional details to document: *
    • When and where the abuse took place
    • Whereabouts of the parent(s) or guardian (s)
    • The person alleged to have caused the child’s condition, and the present whereabouts of that person
    • Where the person suspected of abusing the child works or volunteers, especially if she/he provides services to children (this includes foster parents)
    • The length of time the abuse has been taking place, as well as the severity and frequency of the occurrence, and the objects used
    • Information about other persons or agencies closely involved with the child and/or family
    • The status of guardianship of the child (ie. living at home, voluntary placement agreement or permanent ward of CFS)
    • Consultation with other professionals
    • Information about other people who may be witnesses or may have information about the child
    • Factors affecting the child’s vulnerability (ie. disabilities, limited social skills or observable developmental delays)
    • The signature of the staff person documenting concerns

*Add this information if available, do NOT question the child about any of these details.

After Reporting

The whole process of reporting to CFS is confidential.  Names of suspected child abuse victims or offenders or specific details about the situation legally cannot be discussed at staff or board meetings. 

School staff shall not contact the child’s family, or the suspected perpetrator, or any other persons to inform or to further investigate the cause or circumstances of the suspected abuse. This is the role and responsibility of the police or Child and Family Services.

As part of an investigation, a CFS agency worker or a police officer may wish to interview the child at the school. Interviews are sometimes pre-planned by CFS workers but frequently are not, due to the nature of the allegation and the mandated responsibility to respond.

When CFS staff arrive at schools, ask that CFS staff present their official CFS identification to school officials before they interact with any children.

It is the responsibility of the CFS worker to notify the parent (s)/ guardian (s) of a child apprehension. Whenever possible this should happen prior to the time that the parent(s)/ guardian (s) arrive at the school to pick up the child. If, for some reason, the CFS agency worker is unable to reach the parent (s)/ guardian (s) before their expected arrival at school, the CFS agency worker should meet the parent (s) or guardian (s) at the school.

As a follow-up to the oral report, the reporter must submit a written record of the report on the divisional form (see the next page for a sample). The form is available as a writable PDF. This form is to be submitted to the Assistant Superintendent at the BLSD office as soon as possible thereafter. No copies of this form shall be kept in the school. The reporter may keep copies of their own notes in connection with the report. However, they must be kept confidential in a safe location.

 


CFS Contact Report to BLSD

 

Date:

 

Childs Name                                                            Parent(s) / Guardian(s):

Contact Info:

Phone

 

Address

 

 

Nature of Contact with CFS:

 

Called CFS                  Consult                        Disclosure Type:

 

 

CFS called                

CFS visit                               CFS Agency:                           CFS worker:

 

Time:                                           Duration:

 

 

School Name:

 

Name of person reporting:

 

Signature of person reporting