•  UCAS   UTAH COUNTY ACADEMY OF SCIENCES 

    POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

     

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    SECTION: E - Records and Reporting

    POLICY TITLE: Child Abuse and Reporting and Human Trafficking Prevention

    POLICY: EF

    DATED: March 2014

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    1. PURPOSE AND PHILOSOPHY

     

    Child abuse and neglect are not normally single events but usually involve repeated events affecting the same child, growing more severe the longer the problem continues.  The damage, both physical and psychological, is cumulative. The longer the offender’s behavior continues unchecked, the greater the chance of serious and permanent disability to the child.  School administrators, teachers, and other school employees have an important role to play in the elimination of child abuse because they are in a unique position to observe children over extended periods of time on a daily basis. This reporting policy should help administrators, teachers, and other school district employees in understanding and fulfilling their legal responsibilities regarding child abuse. 

     

    1. REQUIRED REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT

     

    2.1 Utah law requires that whenever any person, including any school employee, has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to incest, molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect, or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in such, he/she shall immediately notify the nearest peace officer, law enforcement agency, or office of the Division of Child and Family Services. All school personnel shall comply with the legal requirements as outlined in this policy.

     

    2.2  It is not the responsibility of school administrators, teachers, or other school district employees to prove that the child has been abused or neglected, or to determine whether the child is in need of protection. Investigations are the responsibility of the Division of Child and Family Services. Investigation by school personnel prior to submitting a report shall not go beyond that necessary to support a reasonable belief that a reportable problem exists. School personnel shall refrain from interviewing or having contact with the suspected abuser.

     

    2.3 School personnel shall cooperate with social service and law enforcement agency employees authorized to investigate reports of alleged child abuse and neglect, assisting as asked as members of interdisciplinary child protection teams in providing protective diagnostic, assessment, treatment, and coordination services.

     

    2.4 Persons making reports or participating in good faith in an investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect are immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might arise from those actions. (Utah Code Ann., §62A-4a-401, et seq.)

     

    2.5 School administrators, teachers, Division of Child and Family Services, and law enforcement personnel are required to preserve the anonymity of those making the initial report and any others involved in the subsequent investigation.

     

    2.5.1  The school administrator, or his/her designee, shall distribute annually to  all school employees copies of the School's procedures for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.

     

    2.5.2  To determine whether or not there is reason to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred, professional school employees may (but are not required to) gather information only to the extent necessary to determine whether a reportable circumstance exists.

     

    2.5.3   Interviews with the suspected abuser shall not be conducted by school administrators or other school employees. Notes of voluntary or spontaneous statements by the child shall be made and given to the investigating agency. Interviews conducted by anyone other than the investigating agency could jeopardize proper handling of a child abuse or neglect case.

     

    2.5.4  School administrators or other school employees shall not contact the parents, relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. for the purpose of determining the cause of the injury and/or apparent neglect.

     

    2.5.5 If there is reason to believe that a child may have been subjected to abuse or neglect, a verbal report of the abuse or neglect shall be made immediately by the school employee to:

     

    2.5.5.1 the school administrator, or his/her designee; then to

     

     2.5.5.2  the appropriate legal authorities. The teacher or other school employee is responsible to personally report the abuse or neglect to the proper legal authorities. The school administrator should not report the abuse or neglect for the teacher or other school district employee, although the administrator may be present when the report is made.   When making the verbal report, always have the person receiving the report identify himself/herself.

     

    2.5.5.3 complete a written statement within forty- eight (48) hours, and one copy shall be placed in a separate file to be maintained by the school administrator, for all reported cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. The written statement shall not be placed in the child’s educational file.

     

    3.0 HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION AND AWARENESS 

    UCAS shall provide, every other year, training and instruction on child sexual abuse and human trafficking prevention and awareness to school personnel, parents, guardians and students and shall provide evidence of compliance with this section. This training will include information regarding identifying children who are victims or may be at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation. UCAS may determine the mode of delivery for the training and instruction and will use instructional materials approved by the Utah State Board of Education shall be used to provide training and instruction to school personnel and parents or guardians and students. 

     

    REFERENCES:

    Utah Code Ann., §62A-4a-401

    S.B. 198 

     

    Approved 1/20/2015

    Pending Approval 2019