Child Abuse Mandatory Reporting

Purpose of Paper, the topic chosen, applicable Federal and/or state laws

Child abuse awareness is imperative due to their mandatory reporting laws, especially when people are experiencing life-changing lows. For the required assistance to be sought, people have to be conversant with the mandatory reporting of child abuse. According to child abuse reporting code 34 U.S. Code § 20341 it claims that “while engaged in a professional capacity or activity described in subsection (b) on Federal land or in a federally operated (or contracted) facility, learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, shall as soon as possible make a report of the suspected abuse to the agency designated under subsection (d) and to the agency or agencies provided for in subsection (e)” (U.S Law, 2021).

 This means that any suspicions of child abuse should be reported by any health care delivery system, federally operated works, or professionals that work on federal land in all capacities to the appropriate agencies in areas or states that the child resides or child welfare services agency. States such as North Carolina have also shown the significance of child abuse reporting. This is evident through the new reporting law mandated in North Carolina on December 1 2019, which is N.C.G.S. § 7B 301. In this new reporting law, every adult must report crimes held against juveniles to the Department of Social Services or Law enforcement of the county that the child lives in. This law does not only expect those in the healthcare delivery system or healthcare professionals to report the abuse of children. Still, it obligates all individuals that are considered by the state as adults. From the aforementioned, it is evident that both state and federal laws show the significance of child abuse report through the obligation of not only professionals but the community at large. This is achieved by literally saving a life by protecting the vulnerable through mandatory reporting.

The specifically targeted employee group and specific health services setting

 The nature of the mandatory reporting of child abuse gets one thinking of private practice settings, for instance, therapists. This specific profession is interesting due to the intimate and private nature of their work. As a result of patient-therapist confidentiality, it is easy to assume that giving detailed information to one’s therapist concerning the issues or troubles that one undergoes at home is entirely safe. However, federal and state laws mandate therapists to report juvenile endangerment, admittance, or suspicions of child abuse without any hesitation.

 At Zion B clinic, a private practice run by Jayden Woods, a single therapist, deals and counsels patients through various situations. I was interested in understanding how he professionally and ethically navigated his duty of reporting any suspicions of juvenile abuse. Although trust is paramount in this kind of setting, if a patient freely opens up to Jayden in situations where a child may have been harmed, Jayden has to report the issue to the department of social services and to law enforcement which in turn would fracture the relationship and trust the patient had on him.

 This seemed to be a very hard task for Jayden and other people in their professional line. Still, it is their obligation to ensure that they save that child’s life that might be in danger by reporting to the necessary authority that supersedes the patient therapy confidentiality.

Discussion of Three Critical Aspects of Employee’s responsibilities

  1. Notifying the department of social justice

 Specific consequence(s) for failing in this responsibility

In the conducted interview, Jayden claims that he could face misdemeanor charges and the law of the state and have his license revoked if she fails to report the suspicion of child abuse. Primary, it is the responsibility of an employee to notify the authority in cases of child abuse.

 Specific statutory requirement

General statutes. § 7B-301(b) stipulates that “if “any person or institution who knowingly or wantonly fails to report the case of a juvenile as required, or who knowingly or wantonly prevents another person from making a report as required, is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor” (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2016). From this state law, it is clear, as stated by Jayden, that an individual can face misdemeanor charges and lose his or her license.

 A specific real-life legal case

The case involved revoking a license of a former kindergarten teacher Donna Ford that occurred in April 2012 in Wichita, Kansas. Donna’s license, a teacher at Cleveland Elementary school, was revoked as she failed to report the instance of child abuse.  Donna had failed to report her suspicions of child abuse instantly, but she reported one week later. She claimed that she did not report the case due to a technical error, but she did not explain why she fails to report verbally. After her license was revoked, she was forced to an early retirement even after teaching for 17 years (Tobias, 2012)

  • Detailed reporting

Specific consequence(s) for failing in this responsibility

This involves providing comprehensive detail when reporting an abuse case. In other words, an individual should provide all key detail of the case. Failing to do this, according to Jayden individual’s license can be revoked and face state law.

 Specific statutory requirement.

34 U.S. Code § 20341 is a statutory requirement that mandates individuals to present their suspicion reports to the Social Service Department. This report should encompass all details of the abused child; this includes the injury or the extent of the abuse, the address of both the abused and abuser, as well as the age of the abused and abused person (nccasa.org, 2020)

 A specific real-life legal case

 The viable example case for this misconduct involves Daniel Yu, the acting physician in a case that involved Sally, a two years old who was admitted at Shore University Medical center. After Sally had been admitted to E.R., it was discovered that she had chemical alcohol, and after conducting a panel test, it was identified that alcohol levels were 0.035%. Yu failed to raise this concern after the daughter’s father had presented a bottle of cologne that she might have taken. Yu failed to collect all information on how the incident occurred, what transpired, and the information related to the present brand,fl. Oz. It was Identified later that Yu failed to report this case to law enforcement or D.Y.F.S., and as a result, he was dismissed from his practitioner (FindLaw’s Superior Court of New Jersey, n.d.).

  • Respond to subpoena of documents

Specific consequence(s) for failing in this responsibility

Jayden stated that failing to respond to a subpoena has a monetary penalty or jail term sentence. This is where social workers are required to provide testimony or documents in connection to the abuse case.

 Specific statutory requirement

Rule 45 under Federal Rules procedures mandated individuals to answer subpoenas (“G.S. 1a-1, rule 45,” n.d.).

A specific real-life legal case

According to the article written by Stephen Anderson, a lawyer who defends practitioners in disciplinary matters, numerous cases involve failure to responding to subpoena, which have resulted in various consequences (Anderson, 2020). However, unfortunately,  regarding the specific case for this particular employee responsibility, I have been unsuccessful in locating a specific case.

Conclusion

Social workers under 34 U.S. Code § 20341 are mandated to report any suspicion of child abuse giving full details of the incident, and if served with subpoenas by the court, they should respond promptly.  When employees fail to uphold these responsibilities can lead to various consequences dismissal of a working license, monetary penalty, and jail sentencing. In this regard, social workers and therapists should take their duties seriously, keeping in mind that failing to uphold their responsibilities can result in severe consequences.

References

Anderson, S. (7 C.E., January). How Therapists Should Handle Subpoenas. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minority-report/202001/how-therapists-should-handle-subpoenas

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2016). Sta te Statutes Penalties for Failure to Report and False Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect What’s Inside. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/report.pdf

FindLaw’s Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division case and opinions. (n.d.). Findlaw. Retrieved March 5, 2021, from https://caselaw.findlaw.com/nj-superior-court-appellate-division/1615914.html

G.S. 1a-1, rule 45. (n.d.). North Carolina General Assembly. https://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_1a/gs_1a-1,_rule_45.html

nccasa.org. (2020.). Mandatory Reporting. N.C. Coalition against Sexual Assault. https://nccasa.org/resources/mandatory-reporting/

Tobias, S. P. (2012). Wichita teacher loses license over alleged late reporting of suspected abuse. Retrieved March 4 C.E., from https://www.kansas.com/news/article1090590.html

U.S Law. (2021). 2017 U.S. Code:: Title 34 – Crime Control and Law Enforcement:: Subtitle II – Protection of Children and Other Persons:: Chapter 203 – Victims of Child Abuse:: Subchapter IV – Reporting Requirements:: Sec. 20341 – Child abuse reporting. Retrieved March 5 2021, from https://law.justia.com/codes/us/2017/title-34/subtitle-ii/chapter-203/subchapter-iv/sec.-20341/

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