Protection of Minors - Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse
|Policy Name:||Protection of Minors – Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse|
|Responsible University Office:||Office of Equity and Inclusion|
|Origination Date:||February 1, 2017|
- SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy addresses the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and/or neglect and applies to all University of Delaware locations and to all University employees, volunteers, and independent contractors.This Policy is consistent with Delaware law, including but not limited to Title 10, Section 903 of the Delaware Code, but is not limited in scope to the requirements of the law, and may impose additional obligations and sanctions not required by the law.
- “Abuse” means that a person causes or inflicts sexual abuse on a child or causes or inflicts physical injury, emotional abuse, torture, exploitation, maltreatment or mistreatment. (Del. Code Title 10 § 901(1)).
- “Child” means a person who has not reached his or her eighteenth birthday (see also Minor). (Del. Code Title 10 § 901(1)).
- “Department” means the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families.
- “Minor” means a person who has not reached his or her eighteenth birthday and is used interchangeably in this Policy with Child.
- “Neglect” means failure to provide necessary care with regard to food, clothing, shelter, education, health, medical or other care necessary for the child’s emotional, physical, or mental health, or safety and general well-being; or chronically and severely abuse of alcohol or a controlled substance, is not active in treatment for such abuse, and the abuse threatens the child’s ability to receive care necessary for that child’s safety and general well-being; or failure to provide necessary supervision appropriate for a child when the child is unable to care for that child’s own basic needs or safety, after considering such factors as the child’s age, mental ability, physical condition, the length of the caretaker’s absence, and the context of the child’s environment. (Del. Code Title 10 § 901(1)).
- POLICY STATEMENTIt is the policy of the University of Delaware to require all University employees, volunteers, and independent contractors, who know or in good faith suspect child abuse or neglect, to report such knowledge or suspicion both internally within the University and externally to appropriate state authorities, as outlined in this Policy. (Del. Code Title 16 § 903). This does not include any confidential communications made to an attorney subject to the attorney-client privilege or a member of the clergy subject to the clergy-penitent privilege.
- POLICY STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
- Basis for a Report
Any University employee, volunteer, or independent contractor who knows, or in good faith suspects, child abuse or neglect, must report such knowledge or suspicion as prescribed below. Any uncertainty as to whether to make a report under this Policy should be resolved in favor of making a report.
- How to Make a Report
If you are making a report under this Policy, follow these steps:
- If a child is in immediate danger, contact police immediately at 911 to obtain protection for the child.
- Immediately make an oral report to the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families by calling (800) 292-9582. Solely informing a supervisor that you suspect abuse is NOT sufficient under this Policy or the law. ( Code Title 16 § 903)
- Immediately, but in no event later than 72 hours after calling the Department (as described in #2 above), prepare and submit a written report using the Department’s Child Abuse/Neglect Mandatory Reporting Form (available at http://kids.delaware.gov/pdfsFillSave/fs_CAN_MandatoryForm_v2_FS.pdf). Fax the completed form to the Department at (302) 577-5515. ( Code Title 16 § 903)
- Whenever an employee, with the exception of a licensed counselor, volunteer or independent contractor makes a report under step #3 above, that person must also make an internal report to the Associate Director/Title IX Investigator or designee in the Office of Equity and Inclusion who is also the University Programs for Minors Liaison, by immediately sending an email to email@example.com. The person making the report must attach to the email a copy of the completed Department’s Child Abuse/Neglect Mandatory Reporting Form sent to the Department pursuant to step #3 above. All University employees, volunteers, and independent contractors are required to assist the University, to the extent deemed necessary by the University, in gathering factual information related to the report.
- Forward any subsequent communication from the Department relating to the report to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To the extent it is permitted by law and/or reasonable under the circumstances, the University will endeavor to preserve the confidentiality of all child abuse and neglect reports and records to protect the privacy rights of the person making the report.
- Immunity from Liability and Non-Retaliation
A person acting in good faith who makes a report of child abuse, whether required to report or not, has immunity from civil and criminal liability. (Del. Code Title 16 § 908). It is the Policy of the University that it will not retaliate against, and take measures to protect from retaliation, any person who makes a good faith report under this Policy. Nothing in this section shall be read to conflict with the University’s ability to discipline employees who engage in wrongful conduct.
- Failure to Report
Violation of Title 16 § 903 is punishable by law with a fine up to $10,000 for a first violation and up to $50,000 for subsequent violations.Pursuant to University policy, if any University employee, volunteer, or independent contractor negligently, recklessly, or willfully fails to report a case of suspected child abuse or neglect, then that individual is also subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, and, in the case of independent contractors, termination of their contract for cause.
- Basis for a Report