CODE:JHE

STUDENT WELFARE
CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY

Child Abuse and Neglect continue to be unresolved national dilemmas. Literally, hundreds of thousands of children, most of whom are younger than five, are seriously physically and psychologically abused and neglected each year. Tragically, many of these defenseless young people die at the hands of abusive and neglectful parents and/or significant others.

Furthermore, child abuse and neglect are not normally a consequence of single and isolated incidents, but occur over long periods of time with several repeated assaults. The damage, both physically and psychologically, is most certainly cumulative. The longer the abusive-neglectful behavior continues, the greater the chance of serious and permanent disability to the child.

Therefore, the purpose of Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Legislation is to protect the best interests of children, offer protective services to prevent harm to children, stabilize the home environment, preserve family life whenever possible, and encourage cooperation among the states in dealing with the tragedy of child abuse and neglect.

DEFINITION OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

For purposes of this policy, "child abuse and neglect" shall mean any injury to a child which is not accidental, including a bruise or other contusion of the skin, a minor laceration or abrasion, failure to thrive or malnutrition or any other condition which imperils the child's health or welfare even if not a serious physical injury. Child abuse also includes any injury which impairs a child's health or which involve physical coercion or torture that causes serious emotional harm to a child or a substantial risk of injury, psychological trauma or death to the child, including fracture of any bone, intracranial bleeding, swelling or contusion of the brain, whether caused by blows, shaking or causing the child's head to impact with an object or surface, any burn, any injury caused by a weapon or any conduct toward a child which results in emotional harm, severe developmental delay or retardation or severe impairment of the child's ability to function or any injury which creates a permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, limb or organ or any conduct which may cause a child to cease breathing or any conduct which results in starvation or deprivation or malnutrition of the child's life.

(Utah Code Ann. 76-5-109)

DUTY OF SCHOOL EMPLOYEES TO NOTIFY AND REPORT

Any school employee who knows or reasonably believes that a child has been neglected, or physically or sexually abused shall immediately notify the nearest peace officer, law enforcement agency, or office of the State Division of Family Services. (Utah Code Ann. 78-3b-3) (Utah Admin Rule 300-401-3)

Employees must also notify the building principal of suspected abuse.

Any person, official, institution required to report a case of suspected child abuse, child sexual abuse, or neglect and fails to do so is guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor.

It is not the responsibility of school employees to prove that the child has been abused or neglected, or determine whether the child is in need of protection. Investigations are the responsibility of the State Division of Human Services. Investigation by school employees prior to submitting a report should not go beyond that necessary to support a reasonable belief that a reportable problem exists.

(Utah Admin. Rule 300-401-3b)

If any district employee is suspected of the abuse of a child, a separate investigation will also be conducted by the school district administration.

COOPERATION BY SCHOOL OFFICIALS

School officials shall cooperate with social service and law enforcement agency employees authorized to investigate charges of child abuse and neglect. When asked to assist as members of interdisciplinary child protection teams, they shall do so in providing protective, diagnostic or assessment treatment and coordination services. (Utah Admin. Rule 300-401-3E) (Utah Code Ann. 78-3b-13(2)

IMMUNITY

Persons making reports or participating in an investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect in good faith are immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might arise from those actions.

ANONYMITY

The identify of a school employee making a report of child abuse or neglect shall not be released to any person or entity except those responding in an official capacity to investigate the report made. (Utah Admin Rule 300-401-3E) (Utah Code Ann. 78-3b-13(2))

Approved: July 1, 1995