JHG REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
J - STUDENTS
REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
The Board recognizes that because of their sustained contact with school-age children, teachers and other school employees are in a position to help identify and report suspected child abuse and neglect.
In compliance with the Child Protective Services Act, §14-3-201 through 215, Wyoming Statutes, it will be the policy of Uinta County School District #1 to report abuse or neglect whenever any person knows or has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected, or observes any child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.
The statute requires that if a person reporting child abuse or neglect is a member of the staff of the school, he or she is to notify the principal, or designee, as soon as possible, who is thereupon also responsible to make the report or cause the report to be made. Because of this requirement, any teacher or employee having any such knowledge is to make an initial report to the principal, or designee, of the school the child attends. The principal, or designee, will then notify the Superintendent, or designee.
The report by a teacher or employee to the principal does not relieve that individual of their obligation to report on his or her own behalf unless a report has already been made or will be made. The Wyoming Statutes are mandatory and absolutely require that a report be made. Failure to report would violate this provision of the law.
Reports are required to be given to the Department of Family Services (DFS) or a local law enforcement agency. The reports can be submitted in written form or by phone (doing both is recommended).
After a report is made to the Department of Family Services or a local law enforcement agency, school district employees shall make themselves available for further communications concerning the matter. As the case is being investigated, the school may provide supportive aid and counseling services from school personnel for the child. The Principal or designee may be present at any meeting at the school with the Department of Family Services personnel and the child.
Before a report is made school district employees shall not contact the child’s family or any other persons to determine the cause of the suspected abuse or neglect unless directed to do so by the superintendent or designee.
Once a report of child abuse is given to the Department of Family Services or the local law enforcement agency, the responsibility for investigation and follow-up lies with that department. It is not the responsibility of the school staff to investigate the case. Therefore, school employees shall not:
- Make home visits for investigative purposes.
- Take the child for medical treatment (this does not preclude taking action in an emergency situation).
- Convey messages between the agency and the parents or guardian.
- Take any other investigative action.
Definitions as used in W.S. 14-3-201 through 14-3-215: 7
- “Abuse” means inflicting or causing physical or mental injury harm or imminent danger to the physical or mental health or welfare of a child other than by accidental means, including abandonment, excessive or unreasonable corporal punishment, malnutrition or substantial risk thereof by reason of intentional or unintentional neglect, and the commission or allowing the commission of a sexual offense against a child as defined by law:
- “Mental injury” means an injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in his/her ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior with due regard to his culture;
- “Physical injury” means death or any harm to a child including but not limited to disfigurement, impairment of any bodily organ, skin bruising, bleeding, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, or substantial malnutrition;
- “Substantial risk” means a strong possibility as contrasted with a remote or insignificant possibility;
- “Imminent danger” includes threatened harm and means a statement, overt act, condition or status which represents an immediate and substantial risk of sexual abuse or physical or mental injury;
- “Neglect” means a failure or refusal by those responsible for the child’s welfare to provide adequate care, maintenance, supervision, education, medical, surgical or any other care necessary for the child’s well-being. Treatment given in good faith by spiritual means alone, through prayer, by a duly accredited practitioner in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination is not child neglect for that reason alone.