Child Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect: Identification and Reporting
New York State Mandatory Training

Reasonable Cause/When to Report

Who Are the Mandated Reporters?

Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect Have Many Presentations

The Disturbing Statistics

Legal Definitions Related to Child Maltreatment

Recognizing Child Abuse

Case Studies: Identifying Abuse

Risk Factors Contributing to Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Protective Factors for Child Abuse and Maltreatment

The Consequences of Child Abuse

Perpetrators of Child Abuse

Talking with Children

Reporting Child Abuse and Maltreatment

How to Report

What Happens After a Report is Made

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act




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Case #1: Corey

Does the emergency department physician have reasonable cause to suspect that Corey has been abused? Should a report be made?

The emergency department physician was given conflicting information about how Corey was injured (the EMS personnel reported that Corey had been hit with a softball during practice; Corey reports he was "beat up"). Corey seems so distressed by his father's presence and the father is very angry at Corey and humiliates him, despite the boy's injury and pain. Corey's father seems to have particular anger towards what he perceives as Corey's shortcomings. As the emergency department physician you report Corey to the SCR.

Case #2: Juanita

As the family nurse practitioner who knows this family well, you decide to ask mother and daughter about what happened that upset them both so much. Mom does not respond, but Juanita blurts out that she stole some nail polish and lipstick from the drug store and her mother found out once they got home. Mom uses corporal punishment in dealing with Juanita and she slapped the girl across the face as well as grabbed her arm rather roughly. She ordered Juanita to take the items back to the store and to apologize to the clerk at the store. Juanita, although initially minimizing her actions, began to feel guilt and remorse for her actions. She was still recovering from the incident that had occurred earlier today.

After Juanita confessed her crime to the nurse practitioner, Mom confirmed the story and talked about how upset she was that her daughter had stolen from the store. She was angry because she is a religious woman who lives by a strict moral code and feels betrayed by her daughter for not also living by the values she thought she had instilled in her daughter. As the nurse practitioner, you believe the explanation that the mother and daughter provide you and you encourage them to continue to talk about the incident with each other. You decide this is not a case of potential abuse and you do not report this to the SCR.

Case #3: Sam

As Sam's teacher and a mandated reporter, do you have reason to suspect that Sam may be the victim of both neglect and abuse in his home?

Sam is often not dressed appropriately for the weather. He is teased by his classmates, largely for his nervousness, anxiety and poor eye contact. His injured ankle has not been treated even though you sent a note home almost two weeks ago.

You decide that you do indeed suspect neglect and possible abuse. You talk to your principal about making a report for neglect and request that the family be evaluated for possible abuse as well.

Case #4: Alicia and Martin

As the visiting nurse you recognize the obvious signs of neglect in the Alicia and the signs of abuse and neglect in Martin. You call the SCR and discuss the immediacy of the need for safety and services (ie. This is the first time you have been in the house in 6 weeks; there is a history of cocaine use; Alicia has lost a significant amount of weight and there is no formula or food in the house; Martin has been abused multiple times and is fearful of adults). You request that immediate action be taken; it is your belief that the children are not safe in the home at this time.

Case #5: Tisha

As the family nurse practitioner in the primary care practice, you must report Tisha to the SCR. In a child as young as Tisha, only 5 years old, a positive lab test for syphyllis is a strong indication that the child is being sexually abused. You report the positive result to Tisha's mother, who becomes tearful and angry and agrees to cooperate with the report, because she fears that Tisha has been sexually abused and is very upset that she has not been able to keep her daughter safe. She wants to find out how this could have happened.

Case #6: Leah and Tisha

Does the clinical social worker have a legal obligation to report what the patient, Leah, has told her? The clinical social worker hasn't been treating Tisha, rather it is Leah who is her patient. Is the social worker required to make a report to the State Central Register? Yes. As stated previously, mandated reporter must report when s/he has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or maltreated where the parent or personal legally responsible for the child comes before them in her/his professional or official capacity and states from personal knowledge facts, conditions or circumstances which, if correct, would render the child abused or maltreated. The therapist is in contact with Leah because Leah has sought out the professional's services. Leah lives in the home with her husband and with Tisha. If what Leah saw was true, then it is reasonable to suspect that abuse may be occurring.

The clinical social worker may want to work with Leah, to assist her to make the report, but this does not take the place of the requirement for the clinical social worker, as a mandated reporter to report her suspicions of sexual abuse.

Case #7: Marcus, Amber and Isaiah

The school nurse meets with the teachers of the Shaw children, requesting their perspectives on whether or not the Shaw children are neglected. She learns that they rarely miss school. Amber and Isaiah are average students, but Marcus is in gifted classes. There has never been any suspicion on the part of the teachers that there may be any abuse in the family. Given what the Shaw children have told the nurse, as well as the teachers' reports, the nurse decides to refer the Shaw children for the school breakfast and lunch programs, seeing this as a financial issue, not a case of neglect. The nurse does not report the Shaw children to the SCR, but refers them and their family to the social service office for other potential entitlements.

Case #8: Tim

As the nurse for this residential treatment center and a mandated reporter, Jean knows that she has a legal obligation report her suspicions of child abuse. This legal requirement overrides any loyalty she may feel towards her employer. She also recognizes that reporting may put her job in jeopardy, since the employer has "investigated" and does not believe the allegations of abuse. Given what Tim has told her, the bloody underwear, and her own discomfort/suspicions when observing staff/client interactions, Jean knows that she has a legal responsibility to report. Ethically and professionally, she also recognizes that she must report, despite whatever ramifications there may be from her employer.

Despite the internal investigation that was conducted by the employer, Jean still has a legal responsibility to report her suspicion of sexual abuse. Additionally, the 2007 changes to the child abuse reporting laws also protect the mandated reporter from retaliation for reporting from the employing agency.

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