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Community College of Philadelphia Child Abuse Reporting Policy

Memorandum #162 Community College of Philadelphia Child Abuse Reporting Policy

Revised:  November 26, 2014
Date of Original Issuance:  August 21, 2012

Introduction

This Policy applies to suspected cases of child abuse.  This Policy explains when reporting is mandatory, who must report suspected abuse, and the process for reporting.

It must be emphasized that the safety and welfare of the child is paramount.  Any uncertainty about whether reporting is required should always be resolved in favor of making a report.

Authority

The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (the “Law”) provides the authority for these requirements.  The full Law can be located at 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6301.

Do I have Obligations Under This Policy?

The Policy applies to all employees of Community College of Philadelphia (“the College”) who, in the course of their employment, come into contact with children, whether on or off campus.  A “child” is any individual under 18 years of age.

At the College, persons obligated to report child abuse would include, but not be limited to, College administrators, faculty, staff, counselors, members of the security department, and individuals who may come into contact with children through camps, academic presentations or other College programs.  If your job responsibility is not specifically listed here, but you come into contact with children in the course of your employment, you have a mandatory reporting obligation.

What Must I Report?

You must report child abuse you actually know about, see, or have reasonable cause to suspect.  Child abuse means non-accidental actions or omissions that cause serious physical or mental injuries to a child, or sexual abuse/sexual exploitation of a child.  This includes:

  1. Physical Abuse:  acts or omissions that cause, or fail to prevent, a serious physical injury to a child.
  2. Sexual Abuse:  this includes rape, sexual assault, molestation, incest, indecent exposure, or exploiting a child in a manner in which the child is used for gratification or sexual enjoyment by another person.
  3. Emotional or Mental Abuse:  actions or omissions that have an actual or likely severe negative impact on a child’s emotional and behavioral development, including those resulting from persistent or severe emotional mistreatment.
  4. Neglect:  a severe or persistent failure to provide for a child’s physical, emotional or basic needs.  However, it is not “neglect” if the actual or suspected injuries result solely from economic or environmental factors that are beyond the caretaker or parent’s control, such as inadequate housing, income, clothing, and medical care.

What Do I Do If I See, Know of, Or Suspect Child Abuse?

If you are someone with an obligation to report, you must act.

Your primary required action under this Policy is to make a report.  In deciding whether or not to report an incident or situation of suspected abuse, it is not required that you have proof that abuse has occurred.  Any uncertainty in deciding to report suspected abuse should be resolved in favor of making a report.

In doing so, your actions should be as follows:

First, do not directly question or solicit information from the child.   That is not your role; the role of investigation lies with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and, in certain circumstances, with law enforcement. 

Second, you have a legal obligation to immediately and directly report injuries caused by suspected child abuse to the Department of Public Welfare.  Reports must be made orally to the Department of Public Welfare’s Child Line at (800) 932-0313.

Third, after making the oral report to the Department of Public Welfare, immediately report the information to the Manager of Safety & Security.  Contact information:  Phone – 215-751-8188, email – ChildAbuseReport@ccp.edu.  If for some reason you are unable or prefer not to contact the Director of Safety & Security, contact the Vice President for Business and Finance.  Contact information:  Phone 215-751-8029. The President of the College has appointed these officials to receive these reports on behalf of the institution.

Fourth, immediately after you have finished making the foregoing reports, report the information to your immediate supervisor.  An initial oral report to your supervisor is acceptable, but written detail should be supplied upon request and may be supplied in every instance.  For Athletics Staff, reports must also be made to the Director of Athletics.

Responsibilities of the Manager of Security

Upon receiving a report made under this Policy, the Manager of Safety & Security shall assume the responsibility and have the legal obligation to also report the suspected child abuse to the Department of Public Welfare.  Reports must be made orally, and immediately, to the Department of Public Welfare’s ChildLine at (800) 932-0313.  The Manager of Safety & Security shall notify the reporting employee that the report was made after making the oral report to ChildLine.

Within 48 hours of reporting to ChildLine, the Manager of Safety & Security will assist you in making the required written report on forms provided by the Department of Public Welfare (Report of Suspected Child Abuse [CY-47]) to the county children and youth agency in the county where the suspected child abuse occurred.  The Manager of Safety & Security shall maintain records of all reports made under this policy.

Permissible Reporting

Even if you are not someone with a mandatory reporting obligation under the Law, you are still permitted to report known or suspected child abuse as a private citizen to the Department of Safety & Security in circumstances not related to your employment at the College , such as, for example, your connection with a children’s local community organization.

Prohibition on Retaliation

Any person who makes a good faith report of child abuse may not be subjected to retaliation in employment.