Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Effectively
This newsletter will empower you to understand your role when you discover or a child discloses abuse/neglect to you and how to effectively report to Children's Division, so the child and their family can receive help and services.
Believe Children
How an adult responds when a child discloses abuse has lifelong consequence for the child. Are they believed, supported, and protected?

If you interact with children, learn the skills needed to be prepared to handle a disclosure. Watch video below!
What do I do if a child discloses to me?
Being a trusted adult to a child is a gift. Child Forensic Interviewer, Beverly Tucker of Child Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis shares how to receive a disclosure of abuse from a child while honoring where they are in the process.
Have a Plan
In her own words...
Listen to a child explain how she needs an adult to respond to her disclosure of abuse in order for her to feel safe. Be a voice for children when they need you most.
What is"Reasonable Suspicion"?
You don’t need all of the answers when you report. Avoid digging for details or having different adults question the child’s story. This can re-traumatize the child and damage the investigation and/or prosecution.

In making a report you don’t need proof. You need reasonable suspicion, which means that you have witnessed abuse, become aware of or believe a child is unsafe.

It also could mean you have observed a pattern of boundary violations and you have intervened, but the person continues to violate boundaries. “Grooming” is and example where an abuse continuously builds and inappropriate relationship. To learn more about grooming and other 'red flag' behaviors check out this resource from our friends at Darkness to Light.
What information do I report?
What caused the “gut feeling” that a child may need help? When reporting abuse, look beyond an incident/event/
pattern and describe how the suspected abuse has impacted the child’s well-being. Valuable information can be provided to hotline without questioning the child. 
Each person sees the world through a lens shaped by their own experiences. This impacts our attitudes and ideas about acceptable ways to raise and care for children.

Learn more about biases before you have to report child abuse. Having awareness will help you responsibly respond to suspicion or discovery of child abuse.

The American Bar Association shares strategies for recognizing and addressing bias for child welfare professionals.
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