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 Department of Human Services – Child Welfare Program (DHS-CWP). Head Start will cooperate fully with DHS-CWP and will not undertake, on its own, to intervene 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).
Provision of support and resources to the family to address potential abuse/neglect issues is encouraged. All efforts will be made to provide information on effective positive behavior support and opportunities to discuss future prevention will be addressed by the family services staff person.
Initial contact with DHS/CWP and completion of the ChildPlus child abuse tab within the Family Services domain will occur 100 percent of the time within 24 hours, via either message left or direct contact call to the DHS Report line.
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 and DHS-CWP. If there is discrepancy on the decision to report, that volunteer or student can exercise the option of reporting directly to DHS – CWP themselves.
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).
The staff person that was disclosed to or witnessed the identified or suspected abuse is the person who must make the report following this procedure:
DST reports all suspected child abuse to DHS-CWP. DST will report suspected child abuse to the RM, Consultants or supervisory personnel immediately available to them. A staff member who needs assistance accessing ChildPlus information to make report will request the assistance of another staff member as needed (Supervisor, FSC, Head Teacher, etc). The assisting staff person will take responsibility for sharing any information with the staff member they have assisted, and inform the RM as soon as possible.
Locate the child’s record in ChildPlus. (For DST that do not have access to ChildPlus complete the following in tandem with the Regional Manager or Consultant.
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 tab entitled “abuse” then click “add abuse report.”
Data enter relevant information and save (note this is also the area where staff document concerns that have not yet risen to the level of a report to DHS-CWP.
The screener will inform the reporter of the action to be taken at the time of the report. If staffing of case is indicated, screener will call mandated reporter back to tell them if case is assigned or closed at assessment.
Return to the ChildPlus record and enter information provided by DHS-CW when received.
When and where appropriate, the Family Service Staff person will work closely with DHS-CWP and family members to provide advocacy and support for the family. Follow up contact(s) with DHS-CWP regarding what is happening to the child and a family after the investigation will be made and noted in the family services domain in ChildPlus.
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.
It is our agency’s preference to have a Head Start staff member present during the DHS-CWP interview with the child, but this is subject to DHS-CWP caseworker discretion.
If children are removed due to suspected abuse, efforts will be made to coordinate with DHS/CWP to keep children at current site location or transfer to another site if foster care placement is indicated.
It is DHS/CWP staff member’s responsibility to inform parents if DHS/CWP removed a child from the site and DHS/CWP should sign child out on sign in/out sheet after showing proper identification.
It is agency policy that we do NOT inform parents of DHS/CWP reports PRIOR to their investigation and/or follow up. DHS/CWP will notify families when it is appropriate for them to do so.
Referrals for parenting groups and parenting resources will be provided by Family services staff following CWP intervention.
What information do I need to report?
Document in the report:
the exact size, shape and color of injuries sustained
the names and addresses of the child and parent;
the child’s age;
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.
DO NOT photograph injuries, even at the request of a DHS worker. Forward concerns about such requests to Family Service Consultant.