Reimagining Mandated Reporting
Tuesday, August 09, 2022, 9:30 AM EST
Presenter: Katie Olson, J.D and Miriam Itzkowitz, MSW, LISW
These workshops offer 3 Live Interactive Continuing Education Credits
The United States has historically relied heavily on mandated reporting, believing it is a causal factor in child abuse prevention. However, to date, there has not been any published research suggestive of such causation. In fact, our reliance on mandated reporting as the primary response to help families arguably introduces more opportunity for systemic racism, implicit biases, and the unwarranted removal of children from their homes.
This presentation reviews the legal and social history of mandated reporting laws and family separation, examines the ethical conundrum of mandated reporting as it relates to evidence-based practice, and discusses alternatives to mandated reporting as a primary prevention strategy.
The presentation includes an examination of “reasonable belief” or “suspicion” requirement in mandated reporting laws and guidance on how to respond to a child disclosure of maltreatment, and what to do when a professional observes maltreatment “warning signs”. We will also focus on alternative responses, highlighting how and when to implement them without violating mandated reporting laws. Overall, this presentation challenges participants to think of consequence beyond just the reporting call, and to be creative in implementing family support systems.
This presentation recognizes and acknowledges that there are many cases where reporting is important and required to ensure child safety. We will discuss, briefly, ways to distinguish cases of maltreatment from cases of poverty and other non-maltreatment stressors where alternative responses may be appropriate.
1. Overview/History of child welfare and mandated reporting laws in the United States (30 minutes). Includes discussion related to specific jurisidictions of audience members, disproportionality rates
2. What the Law Says: Discussion of mandated reporting laws, including "reasonable belief", definitions of maltreatment, how and when to make a report (30 minutes)
3. What the Law Doesn't Say: Other considerations such as child disclosures, confidentiality issues, "off-duty" reporting, informing caregivers of report, and vicarious/secondary trauma. Includes group discussion on how reporting does/does not factor into maltreatment prevention (30 minutes)
4. Looking at the child welfare system as a whole: What is the role of mandated reporting/reporters? (20 minutes) Includes a six minute video of testimonials from parents with lived experience
5. Decision making models and engaging families in support processes (45 minutes) Includes a motivational interviewing exercise, discussion of evidence based research, and case studies; utilizing alternate responses when appropriate, including family in making a report when appropriate
6. Recommedations for Mandated Reporters (25 minutes) Incorporates step by step processes to consider before making a report, and how to get support if needed.