Head Start staff will comply with state law (ORS 419.B-419B.045) requiring staff to report any cases of suspected or identified child abuse. These reports are made to the Oregon Department of Human Services – Child Welfare (ODHS-CW). Head Start of Lane County will cooperate fully with ODHS-CW and will not undertake, on its own, to investigate in cases of suspected abuse. Head Start staff will preserve confidentiality of all records pertaining to child abuse in accordance with state law. (See Child/Family Records Policy).
HSOLC staff are required to provide support and resources to the family to address potential and/or reported abuse/neglect issues and concerns. All efforts will be made to provide information on effective positive behavior support along with opportunities to discuss future support services and/or prevention services that may be needed.
Staff will report concerns and seek support and guidence via the regional support team regarding suspected or disclosed abuse. When a report is deemed necessary, initial contact with the Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare and completion of the ChildPlus documentation will occur within 24 hours, via either a message left, or direct contact with the ODHS-CW report line at: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233)
Definitions and Reporting Clarifications
- Abuse includes: physical injury caused by other than accidental means; neglect which leads to physical harm; emotional maltreatment which has an observable harmful effect on a child; sexual molestation and threat of harm that puts the child at substantial risk of physical or sexual abuse, neglect or mental injury. Witnessing or other involvement in domestic violence is also considered abuse by Oregon state criteria.
- Children are unmarried persons under the age of eighteen; reporting is required for all children.
- Public or private officials required to report include employees of county health and mental health programs, childcare agencies, schools, and social workers. Each Head Start staff person is responsible for reporting and documenting cases of suspected or identified child abuse to DHS-CWP within 24 hours of disclosure or incident.
- Parent and community volunteers and practicum students are not required but encouraged to report their concerns to a Head Start staff member.
- The Department of Human Resources – Child Welfare Program is designated by state law as an investigating agency. The number to report child abuse or neglect is: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
Staff must inform the RM/ARM or their designated representative prior to initiating a child abuse report. All efforts will be made to then meet with available members of the regional support team prior to making a child abuse report. However if the team is unable to meet prior to the report a meeting must be scheduled within the next 24 hours.
The staff person that was disclosed to or witnessed the identified or suspected abuse is the person who must make the report to ODHS-CW following this procedure: For staff that do not have access to ChildPlus the report itself and the following documentation steps are completed in tandem with the Regional Manager, FSC or Consultant.
The RM/ARM and FS staff will inform/involve Consultants immediately if warranted or via monthly reporting if the situation is deemed non-crisis.
Alert other Head Start or Early Head Start staff and community partners working with the child and family within 48 hours that a report is in process.
- Locate the child’s record in ChildPlus.
- Go to the application domain, click on the blue link entitle “family information” to obtain caregiver’s language, phone number, address, etc.
- Go to the Family Services domain click the Abuse tab then click “Add Abuse Report.” Please note this is also the area where staff document concerns that have not risen to the level of a report to ODHS-CW. In this case check the ‘Concern Only’ check box and note concern details in the notes field. Staff indicating a ‘concern only’ in the abuse domain will seek consultation support and guidance within 24 hours via their supervisor and or the Family Support Coordinator. When and where appropriate, the staff will express concerns and seek collaboration with the parent/cargiver prior to a report being made to assure safe trauma informed and equitable services are provided.
- If making a report follow the above steps without checking the ‘concern only” check box and enter report information into the provided fields. Always indicate the name of the ODHS-CW staff/screener you spoke with, and any other information exchanged at the time of the report.
- The following is a listing of the needed information for a report:
- The name/address/contact for parent/caregiver,
- The exact size, shape and color of injuries sustained,
- The age of the child
- The type and extent of the abuse, as well as any previous evidence of abuse;
- The explanation given for the abuse; and any other information that will help establish the cause of abuse or identify the abuser.
- The following is a listing of the needed information for a report:
- If further information is provided by ODHS-CW at a later date, return to the ChildPlus record to enter the new information into the original report note field.
- All notes regarding the report itself or concerns will be objective (no opinions, or second hand information reported as fact).
- Confidentiality of records concerning child abuse reports will be maintained. (See Child/Family Records policy) Information regarding suspected abuse is not considered part of the child’s educational record but will be stored for five years.
- If ODHS-CW staff come to a site location for removal of or interview with a child they must show proper identification and sign the child out. It is our agency’s preference to have a Head Start staff member present during the ODHS-CW interview with the child, but this is subject to ODHS-CW caseworker discretion.
- If children are removed from parent/caregiver custody and placed in foster care , efforts will be made to coordinate with ODHS/CW to keep children at current site/model location or assist with transfer to another site or Home Visitor if needed.
- Referrals for parenting groups and parenting resources will be provided by Family services staff following ODH-CW intervention.
Reporting child abuse and domestic violence is emotionally challenging. See additional guidance in the Teacher Tool Kit.
This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45CFR Section 1303.22 (c) (iii) 1302.53 (2) (iii) 1302.47 1302.92
It was approved by Policy Council on September 9, 1997. August 29, 2005. September 12, 2006. November 2017. August 2022.
Updated July 8, 2002. July 1, 2003. May26, 2004. August 12, 2005. June 2006. June 2007. June 2010. September 2017. December 2020. July 2022
© Head Start of Lane County. All rights reserved.
REVIEWED: December 2020. July 2022