Jefferson School District

Learning Today...Leading Tomorrow

Child Abuse and Neglect

Parents who have suspicions of possible child abuse are encouraged to bring it to the attention of the school administration immediately. When parents believe there is physical injury and/or cause to fear for the child’s immediate safety call the Tracy Police Department at 209-831-4550. Parents may also call Child Protective Services (CPS) at 209-468-1333 to report suspected abuse.

Below are the staff responsibilities as related to Child Abuse and Neglect:

Duty to Report

Certificated and classified employees are trained in child abuse identification and shall report known or suspected child abuse to a child protective agency by telephone immediately or as soon as practically possible and in writing within thirty-six (36) hours. The reporting duties are individual and cannot be delegated to another.

Definitions

  1. "Child Abuse", as defined by law, pursuant to Penal Code 273 and 11165, and for purposes of this regulation, including the following:
     
    • Physical abuse resulting in a non-accidental physical injury.
    • Physical neglect, including both severe and general neglect, resulting in negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child.
    • Sexual abuse including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
    • Emotional abuse and emotional deprivation including willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment.
    • Severe corporal punishment.
       
  2.  "Mandated Reporters" are those people defined by law as "child care custodians", "medical practitioners" and "non-medical practitioners" and include virtually all school employees. The following school personnel are required to report: teachers, administrators, supervisors of Student Services and Student Attendance, certificated pupil personnel employees, employees of a child care institution, head start teachers, school psychologists, licensed nurses, counselors, presenters of child abuse prevention programs and those instructional aides or other classified employees who have contact with children. Basically, all district employees who know, should know, or suspect child abuse are mandated reporters.
     
  3. "Child Protective Agencies", law enforcement and child protective services are responsible for investigating child abuse reports, including the local police or sheriff’s department, county welfare or juvenile probation department and child protective services.
     
  4. "Reasonable Suspicion" means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate his/her training and experience, to suspect child abuse.

Reporting Procedures

There are no absolute guidelines specifying what constitutes evidence for reporting suspected child abuse.
The general rule is "When In Doubt, Report".

  1. Contact the appropriate local authority and report suspected abuse. When there is physical injury and/or cause to fear for the child’s immediate safety call the local law enforcement agency:

Tracy Police Dept. 209-831-4550. It is also strongly recommended (but not required) that you contact the school administrator, who can support and guide you through the process.

In all other instances, the phone call should be to the Child Protective Services (CPS), phone 209-468-1333.
The telephone report must be made immediately or as soon as practically possible, upon suspicion of abuse. The verbal report will include:

  • The name of the person making the report
  • The name of the child, parents’ name, addresses, and phone number.
  • The present location of the child.
  • The nature and extent of any injury.
  • Any other information request by the child protective agency.

At the time the verbal report is made, the mandated reporter shall note the name of the official contacted, the date and time contacted, and any instructions or advice received.
RETAIN COPY FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.

  1. Within thirty-six (36) hours of making the telephone report, the mandated reporter must complete and mail a written report to the local child protective agency.

The written report shall include completion of the required Standard Department of Justice form
(Form Download).

The Department of Justice forms are also available from the school principal. The school principal will assist the mandated reporter in completing the verbal and written report.

Reporters should request assistance from the site administrator in completing and mailing the form; however, the mandated reporter is still responsible for ensuring that the written report is correctly filed.

  1. It is better to work with a school administrator throughout all three steps. However, employees reporting child abuse to a child protective agency are required to notify the site administrator or designee as soon as possible after the initial verbal report by telephone. The site administrator shall inform the Superintendent of the actions taken.

Victim Interviews

Upon request, a child protective agency representative may interview a suspected victim of child abuse during school hours, on school premises, concerning a report of suspected child abuse that occurred within the child’s home or away from the child’s home. The child shall be given the choice of being interviewed in private or in the presence of any adult school employee or volunteer aide selected by the
child.

A staff member or volunteer aide selected by a child may decline to be present at the interview. If the
selected person accepts, the principal or designee shall inform him/her before the interview takes place, or
the following legal requirements:

  • The purpose of the selected person’s presence at the interview is to lend support to the child and enable him/her, before the interview takes place, to be as comfortable as possible.
  • The selected person shall not participate in the interview.
  • The selected person shall not discuss the facts or circumstances of the case with the child.
  • The selected person is subject to the confidentially requirements of Article 2.5, Penal Code 11165, a violation of which is punishable as specified by Penal Code 11167.5.

If a staff member agrees to be present, the interview shall be held at a time during school hours.

Release of Child to Peace Officer

When a child is released to a peace officer and taken into custody as a victim of suspected child abuse, the Superintendent and/or principal shall NOT notify the parent or guardian as required in other instances of removal of a child from school, but rather shall provide the peace officer with the address and telephone number of the child’s parent or guardian.

It is the responsibility of the peace officer to notify the parent or guardian of the situation. Peace officers will be asked to sign an appropriate release or acceptance of responsibility form.

When School Employees are Accused of Child Abuse

Regardless of who the child abusers may be, parents, relatives or school staff, the responsibility of mandated reporters is t

  • Identify incidents of suspected child abuse, and
  • Report the suspected abuse to the proper authorities.

DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT THE SUSPECTED ABUSE ACTUALLY OCCURRED IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SCHOOL EMPLOYEE. Such determination and follow-up investigation is the responsibility of the child protective agency or local police agency.

Pending the outcome of an investigation by a child protective agency and prior to the filing or formal charges, a suspect employee may be subject to reassignment or a paid leave of absence.

Disciplinary action resulting from the filing of formal charges or upon conviction shall be accordance with district policies, regulations, and/or collective bargaining agreement. The Superintendent or designee should consult with legal counsel in implementing either suspension or dismissal.

 

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