Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Protection of Minors Policy

Policy Title Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Protection of Minors Policy
Policy Category Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance
Policy Approval Date October 1, 2019
Policies Superseded None
Responsible Office Finance & Administration
Related Policies None
Frequency of Review 3 Years
Date of Revision October 1, 2022

I. Scope

This Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Protection of Minors Policy (“Policy”) applies to all faculty, staff, students, independent contractors, and volunteers of the University. Third parties sponsoring events using University facilities are required to adhere to the reporting requirements of this Policy. Please see Section V below for the definitions of capitalized terms contained in this Policy.

II. Policy Statement

This Policy governs mandatory Child Abuse reporting requirements under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (“CPSL”), 23 Pa.C.S. § 6301 et seq., and University policy which, in some instances, requires broader protections than the CPSL. Any doubt regarding whether to report suspected Child Abuse should be resolved in favor of filing a report.

The University is committed to the protection and safety of Children. Even persons not deemed to be Mandated Reporters under the law, but who have suspicions or knowledge of Child Abuse, are strongly encouraged to make a voluntary report of such suspected or actual Child Abuse in the manner described in this Policy.

III. Reporting Policy

A. Information Triggering Mandatory Reporting Obligations

It is the Policy of the University that all faculty, staff, students, independent contractors, and volunteers, as well as third parties sponsoring events using University facilities, must make a report as set forth in this Policy when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a Child is a victim of Child Abuse under any of the following circumstances:

1. the Mandated Reporter comes into contact with the Child in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession, or through a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service;

2. the Mandated Reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the Child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization, or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the Child;

3. a person (including the Child in question) makes a specific disclosure to the Mandated Reporter that an identifiable Child is the victim of Child Abuse; and/or

4. an individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the Mandated Reporter that the individual has committed Child Abuse.

Confidential communications made to an attorney that are subject to the attorney-client privilege, or which are made to a member of the clergy and subject to the clergy-penitent privilege, are an exception to this requirement.

The obligation to report is triggered even when the Mandated Reporter has not come into direct contact with the Child in question, but learns information about the suspected abuse from a source other than the Child. And, the obligation to report is triggered even when the Mandated Reporter is not able to identify the individual allegedly responsible for the suspected abuse. But, the obligation to report is not triggered when the Mandated Reporter knows that the Child involved is an adult by the time the information is provided to the Mandated Reporter.

The obligation to report is triggered regardless of where the alleged abuse occurred; it is not limited to abuse that occurred in Pennsylvania. See Reporting Procedures in Section (III)(B) below for information about reporting abuse that did not occur in Pennsylvania.

The Mandated Reporter must submit a report as soon as possible upon receiving information of suspected Child Abuse, but in no event more than twenty-four (24) hours thereafter. Mandated Reporters must report the information made known to them, but should not conduct their own independent investigation. The mandatory reporting obligation attaches directly to the Mandated Reporter. Although Mandated Reporters may consult with their supervisor(s), Public Safety, or the Office of General Counsel, the submission of a report should not be unduly delayed by seeking assistance or approval from a supervisor, Public Safety, the Office of General Counsel, or any other individual(s).

The category of Mandatory Reporters broadly encompasses the University community, and it is expected that individuals will embrace this personal responsibility rather than incorrectly relying on an actual or perceived chain of command.

B. Reporting Procedures

To report suspected Child Abuse to Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services:

Reports are submitted to Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services by filing an electronic report through the Child Welfare Portal at https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home or by calling ChildLine at (1-800) 932-0313. If the report is made by telephone, the Mandated Reporter must, within forty-eight (48) hours of making the oral report, file an electronic report through the Child Welfare Portal or a written report on form CY-47, available at http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/form/c_137044.pdf. Form CY-47 must then be filed with the Children and Youth Services (“CYS”) agency in the county in which the alleged abuse occurred. A directory of county CYS agencies is available at: http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_260653.pdf. Questions regarding where to file form CY-47 should be directed to Public Safety.

In order to avoid the need for both a telephonic and electronic or written report, Mandated Reporters are encouraged (but not required) to submit an electronic report in the first instance, rather than placing a telephone call.

To report suspected Child Abuse occurring outside of Pennsylvania or in an unknown location:

If the location where the suspected Child Abuse took place is unknown, the Mandated Reporter should still report the suspected Child Abuse to Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services when Pennsylvania is the state where the disclosure was made. If the suspected Child Abuse is known to have occurred outside of Pennsylvania, the report of suspected Child Abuse should be reported to the appropriate CYS agency or law enforcement agency in the state where the Child Abuse took place. However, as an alternative, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services will accept telephonic reports of Child Abuse occurring in other states and direct them accordingly.

Non-U.S. based Mandated Reporters, such as non-U.S. based faculty, staff, students, independent contractors, and volunteers affiliated with The College of Global Studies, who receive a report of Child Abuse that has occurred abroad should report the suspected Child Abuse to the appropriate social service agency or law enforcement agency in the locality where the disclosure was made. This reflects the University’s commitment to the protection of Children on a global scale. In such instances, however, due to broad variances in legal and other customs across the globe, the Mandated Reporter is encouraged to seek guidance from the Director of Health, Safety, and Security of The College of Global Studies, who will in turn liaise with Public Safety.

For all reports of suspected Child Abuse:

In the event a Child is in imminent danger or Child Abuse is in progress, call 911 or, for non-U.S. based Mandated Reporters, the equivalent emergency response number in that locality.

Immediately after submitting a report, the Mandated Reporter must notify Public Safety of the report. For faculty, staff, students, independent contractors, and volunteers affiliated with The College of Global Studies, the Mandated Reporter must notify the Director of Health, Safety, and Security of The College of Global Studies, who will in turn liaise with Public Safety.

Immediately after receiving notification of the submission of an initial report, Public Safety will notify the Office of General Counsel of the report. The General Counsel, serving as the President’s designee for purposes of this aspect of legal compliance, will, with Public Safety, assist in facilitating the University’s cooperation in any subsequent investigation involving CYS or law enforcement.

Public Safety will maintain an electronic record logging all written and/or electronic reports made, as well as confirmation receipts, if any, for a period of thirty (30) years from the date of report.

C. Failure to Report

Depending on the circumstances, a Mandated Reporter’s willful failure to report suspected Child Abuse may be subject to criminal prosecution. Additionally, failure to report may result in disciplinary action taken by the University, including possible expulsion, termination of employment, or other separation from the University.

D. Immunity for Good Faith Reports

Pennsylvania law provides immunity from civil and criminal liability, and protection from employment discrimination, for individuals who have acted in good faith in reporting suspected Child Abuse, cooperating with an investigation, and/or testifying in a related proceeding.

E. Training

Certain individuals may be required to complete specific Child Abuse identification, prevention and reporting training in connection with their Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-regulated license or certification. Individuals located outside of Pennsylvania may have additional state or country specific requirements. Questions regarding same can be directed to the Office of Human Resources or, for non-U.S. based employees of The College of Global Studies, to the Director of Health, Safety, and Security of The College of Global Studies.

IV. Other Programmatic Requirements

If a University faculty member, staff member, student, independent contractor, or volunteer is planning an event or program in which Children will participate, the following procedures must be followed.

1. Notice of the event or program should be provided to Public Safety electronically on the provided Minors Program or Event Registration Form. Such notice shall include:

a. contact information for the primary point of contact for the event or program;

b. a brief description of the planned event or program;

c. the identities of any third parties/external entities involved in the event or program; d. the date, time, and location of the event or program;

e. an estimated number of Children that will be participating in the event or program and the age range of such Children (e.g. Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School, High School);

f. whether or not the event or program requires overnight housing for Children; and

g. whether or not the event program requires University transportation for Children.

2. The individual(s) managing the event or program shall also provide the names and contact information for all faculty, staff, students, independent contractors, volunteers, and any other individuals who will be participating in the event or program in a supervisory capacity to Public Safety and Human Resources.

Human Resources ensures the completion of any necessary background checks and/or clearances for University faculty, staff, and students. Other individuals participating in the event or program in a supervisory capacity, including independent contractors and volunteers, must, unless otherwise agreed, independently complete any necessary background checks and/or clearances and provide evidence of same to Human Resources. Human Resources will identify what background checks and/or clearances are necessary, including setting parameters as to the timeliness of previously completed background checks and/or clearances, and documentation regarding same shall be retained by Human Resources.

3. It is the responsibility of the individual(s) managing the event or program to ensure that all faculty, staff, students, independent contractors, volunteers, and any other individuals who will be participating in the event or program sign the provided Minors Program or Event Policy Affirmation, an acknowledgement that they have read and understand the reporting requirements of this Policy. The individual(s) managing the event or program are also responsible for consulting with the Office of General Counsel about whether any additional documentation is required (e.g. forms pertaining to informed consent, assumption of risk, and/or limitation of liability). It is the responsibility of the individual(s) managing the event program to ensure that any such documents that are recommended are signed by Child participants’ parents/guardians and kept on file.

This subsection does not apply to:

• events or programs in which those Children who will participate are matriculated at the University as students, unless also enrolled at a secondary school (i.e. dual enrollment);

• events or programs for which participating Children’s parents/guardians are required to be present;

• events or programs otherwise open to the public and which may incidentally include Children (e.g. concerts, plays, athletic events); and/or

• the provision of patient care to Children.

Other exemptions from the requirements set forth in this Policy may be provided only if approved in writing by the Office of General Counsel.

V. Definitions

A Child/Children/Minor/Minors is an individual under eighteen (18) years of age.

Child Abuse is intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly doing any of the following:

1. causing bodily injury to a Child through any Recent Act or failure to act;

2. fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the Child through any Recent Act;

3. causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a Child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act;

4. causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a Child through any act or failure to act;

5. creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a Child through any Recent Act or failure to act;

6. creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a Child through any Recent Act or failure to act;

7. causing serious physical neglect of a Child;

8. engaging in any of the following Recent Acts

a. kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a Child in a manner that endangers the Child;

b. unreasonably restraining or confining a Child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement;

c. forcefully shaking a Child under one (1) year of age;

d. forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a Child under one (1) year of age;

e. interfering with the breathing of a Child;

f. causing a Child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement; g. leaving a Child unsupervised with an individual, other than the Child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known:

• Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.

• Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.

• Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent Child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions);

9. causing the death of the Child through any act or failure to act; and/or

10. engaging a Child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under Section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1466, 22 U.S.C. § 7102).

A Mandated Reporter is any faculty, staff, student, independent contractor, or volunteer of Arcadia University who has reasonable cause to suspect that a Child is the victim of Child Abuse.

A Recent Act is any act occurring within two (2) years prior to the information coming to the attention of a Mandated Reporter.

University refers to Arcadia University, its colleges, schools, affiliates, divisions, and subsidiaries.

VI. Effective Date

This Policy is effective on the date that it is signed by the President

VII. Date of Approval

October 1, 2019