Regulation 9005: Child Abuse Reporting
Pursuant to Board of Education policy and Section 411 of the Social Services Law, school district staff should be on the alert for the purpose of identifying abused and maltreated children and reporting such findings as required in paragraph "2" below. For the purpose of discerning whether or not a child is abused or maltreated, the following definitions should be considered:
An "abused child" means a child less that 18 years of age whose parent or other person legally responsible for care, inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury, by other than accidental means, which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, serious protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. Child abuse also refers to the situation where the parent, or other person legally responsible, creates or allows to be created, a substantial risk of physical injury to a child, by other than accidental means, which would be likely to cause death or serious protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. Sex offenses against a child, as defined in the Penal Law, shall also constitute a basis for finding that a child has been abused.
A "maltreated child" includes a child under the age of 18 defined as a neglected child under the Family Court Act or who has had serious physical injury inflicted upon him by other than accidental means. In general terms, a neglected child is one whose physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of neglect by a parent, or other person legally responsible for his care, to exercise a minimum degree of care in the areas of providing food, clothing, shelter, education, medical, dental, optometric or surgical care. Child neglect is also indicated where there has been the unreasonable infliction of harm, or substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment, drug misuse or abuse, alcohol abuse or abandonment of the child.
Educational Neglect is considered to be the failure of a parent or person in parental relationship to ensure a child's prompt and regular attendance in school or the keeping of a child out of school for impermissible reasons resulting in an adverse affect on the child's educational progress or imminent danger of such an adverse affect. A determination as to whether a child's absenteeism is excessive and is considered educational neglect shall be made in accordance with Policy 5015 - Comprehensive Student Attendance Policy. The District Clerk shall serve as the District's representative for the purpose of collaborating with the local social services agency regarding the District's relevant policies and procedures.
Persons Obligated to Report Cases of Suspected Child Abuse or Maltreatment
All professional staff members (including administrators, teachers, teaching assistants, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, school nurses, and any other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate) are mandated to report cases of suspected child abuse and maltreatment, including educational neglect, in accordance with the procedures listed below.
All mandated reporters who work for a school and who have direct knowledge of any allegation(s) of suspected child abuse or maltreatment, must personally make a report to the Child Protective Services State Central Registry- SCR.. The reporter must then notify the building principal who is responsible for all subsequent internal administration necessitated by the report. This may include providing follow-up information (ex., relevant information contained in the child's educational record) to CPS. The building principal shall also notify the Superintendent of Schools.
Mandated reporters shall call the Statewide Central register telephone number, 1-800-635-1522, to report an incident of suspected child abuse. They shall ask for the call identification number, the name of the person to whom reporting and the time they report is logged to keep in the school district's record. A personal copy may be retained. The mandated reporter will immediately inform the building principal of such reporting and, also, complete the LDSS-2221-A form and provide the completed and signed form to the building principal. The building principal is responsible for ensuring that any follow up administrative activities as a result of the report are performed, and shall notify the Superintendent of Schools or Acting Superintendent of the report in writing.
Within 48 hours of the report, the mandated reporter and the building principal, or in the building principal's absence, the mandated reporter will transmit the completed and signed LDSS-2221-A form to the County Department of Social Services, Office of Child Protective Services and provide notice of the transmittal to the building principal. The report shall also be maintained in a confidential file in the principal's office.
The Superintendent of Schools or designee can request a summary investigative report of any case referral to Child Protective Services.
School personnel may request that individual identifying information be withheld if documenting such information might prove detrimental to the safety or interest of that individual.
In instances when the building principal receives information that constitutes reportable child abuse or maltreatment from any non-mandated reporter, he or she shall become responsible to report and follow the process described above for incident reporting and follow-up administrative action.
Only one report per incident is required from the school district.
The law allows for the photographing at public expense of the areas of trauma visible on a child who has been abused or maltreated. All photographing should be conducted with the authorization of the Building Principal who shall, to the extent practicable, do so upon notification of the Superintendent or his/her designee. Al photographs shall be sent to the Child Protective Service at the time that the written report, referenced in paragraph "3" above, is sent or as soon thereafter as possible.
Access to School Records by the Child Protective Services
The District may disclose personally identifiable information from the educational records of a student to Child Protective Services personnel when it is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. In deciding whether or not the disclosure should be made, the seriousness of the threat to the health or safety of the student or other individuals, the need for the information to meet the emergency and the extent to which time is of the essence should be considered. (Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, "Buckley Amendment")
Student Interviews by the Child Protective Services Personnel on School Property
The Building Principal may allow a Department of Social Services Child Protective Services employee to interview, in school, any student concerning whom a report of suspected abuse or maltreatment has been made regardless of the source of the report. A school official should be present during the interview unless it is decided that the presence of the school official is not essential to protect the interests of the pupil and that the Department of Social Services worker's job can best be accomplished by conducting the interview without the school official present.
Taking a Child into Protective Custody
School officials and staff members do not have the power to take a child into protective custody under the Social Services Law or Education Law. A peace officer, police officer, law enforcement official, agent of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to children or a designated employee of the County Department of Social Services may take a child into protective custody without the consent of a parent or guardian. The Building Principal shall cooperate with any of the officials referenced above who produces official documentation indicating that a student be taken into protective custody. Release of a child to such official(s) must be authorized by the Superintendent of Schools.
Confidentiality of Reports
Reports of suspected child abuse and maltreatment are confidential and may only be made available to those individuals who are specified by law. Prior to the release of a report, the Freedom of Information Law Records Access Officer should consult with the Superintendent of Schools and the school attorney regarding the propriety of releasing the report even to one specified by law as being entitled to receive the report. The Commissioner of Social Services may intervene to prohibit the release of a report by determining that to do so would be detrimental to the safety or interests of the reporter.
Reporting of a Child's Death
A post-mortem report must be made to the medical examiner or coroner in the event that a child dies as a result of abuse or maltreatment. If such death occurs at school, the report shall be made by the Superintendent of Schools to the appropriate medical authority. (Section 418, Social Services Law)
Immunity from Liability
The law provides school officials who act in good faith in the making of a report of the taking of photographs with immunity from liability. The immunity from liability extends to civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result from such actions. The law established a presumption of immunity from liability. (Section 419, Social Services Law)
Penalties for Failure to Report
The penalty for failure to report a suspected case of child abuse, maltreatment and neglect is a Class A Misdemeanor. In addition, there may be civil liability for damages proximately caused by such failure to report. (Section 420, Social Services Law)
Obligations for Provision of Services and Procedures to Safeguard Life and Health
If, during the course of an investigation of suspected child abuse, the Building Principal determines that a child's health or safety is threatened, the Building Principal shall immediately contact the Superintendent who will immediately contact the Child Protective Service and police to recommend having the child placed in protective custody pursuant to paragraph "7", above.
Training Programs for Staff and New Hirees
The Superintendent shall establish and implement, on an ongoing basis, a training program for all current employees and newly hired employees regarding child abuse and the procedures described herein above. (Section 3209-a, Education Law)
General information about child abuse, maltreatment or welfare, other than for the purpose of making a report of child abuse or maltreatment, can be obtained by calling 1-518-474-9516.
Distribution of Policy and Regulations
The Superintendent shall distribute copies of the policy and regulations regarding child abuse reporting requirements to all current employees and new employees. (Section 413, Social Services Law)
Approved by Superintendent of Schools: February 6, 1996
- October 31, 2008
- May 5, 2009
- August 27, 2010
- January 13, 2015