New York: Child Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect for Mandated Reporters (348)Page 2 of 16

1. The Grave Problem of Child Abuse

The recognition of child abuse in its multiple forms—physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and neglect—continues to be a considerable social and public health problem throughout the world. While every state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories mandate reporting by certain individuals, and most require training for those reporters, underreporting of suspected child abuse continues to be a problem.

Underreporting is often related to confusion, uncertainty, lack of knowledge about the signs of mistreatment, or the belief that the family can fix the problem on its own. A mandated reported may genuinely feel that intervention will negatively affect the family and the child.

Pre-Test: Try these questions before continuing.

The answers are at the end of the question list.

  1. When determining if a child shows indicators of maltreatment or abuse it is important to remember:
    1. Indicators will always be of a physical nature and will be visible.
    2. Not to view indicators in isolation.
    3. The explanation for the presenting concern is irrelevant.
    4. Your prior experience with this child should not be factored in.
  2. Some Mandated Reporters connect with children virtually. Choose the true statement below:
    1. Due to the virtual setting a mandated reporter cannot assess indicators of abuse/maltreatment.
    2. Pay attention to non-verbal cues from the child. Does the child’s demeanor change when a particular adult enters the room?
    3. Mandated reporters can only report what they see or hear in person.
    4. Meeting virtually places children in more danger.
  3. Which is not a form of maltreatment?
    1. Excessive corporal punishment
    2. Lack of Supervision
    3. Poverty
    4. Inadequate guardianship
  4. Adverse childhood experiences can have a lasting impact on:
    1. Children
    2. Persons Legally Responsible (PLR) for children
    3. Mandated Reporters
    4. All of the above
  5. The following are protective factors that can mitigate child abuse and maltreatment except:
    1. Parents having concrete supports in time of need.
    2. Having a robust network of mandated reporters.
    3. The child’s social connections.
    4. Parental resilience.
  6. Research on bias throughout the child welfare system shows:
    1. An under representation of families of color.
    2. An over representation of families in poverty and families of color.
    3. A mandated reporter’s decision to make a report is hardly ever influenced by bias.
    4. Bias does not have long lasting impacts on families and communities.
  7. As mandated reporters you must use critical thinking when deciding whether to call in a report. Critical thinking includes:
    1. Gathering adequate information about the current situation.
    2. Analyzing that information to separate facts from assumptions.
    3. Determining whether you are legally required to call the SCR, and if not, determine what alternative options are available.
    4. All the above.
  8. When are mandated reporters required to call the State Central Register to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment?
    1. Immediately.
    2. Within a week.
    3. Within 48 hours.
    4. Depends on the severity of the suspected injury.
  9. If you are a mandated reporter in a school and a child has been missing from school and the parents are not responding to the schools attempts to discuss the child’s lack of attendance, what should you do?
    1. Make a report to the SCR for educational neglect.
    2. Assess if other efforts can be made by the school to engage the family.
    3. Discuss the matter with the child’s friends.
    4. Call the police.
  10. When a mandated reporter finds a family in crisis and the children are not in imminent danger of harm, it is best to:
    1. Call the State Central Register and make a report just in case.
    2. Assess the situation to see if the family could benefit from other community resources.
    3. Do nothing.
    4. Call law enforcement
  11. What should a mandated reporter do before reporting any allegations of abuse/neglect?
    1. Have clear and sufficient evidence of the abuse or neglect.
    2. Discuss the concerns with the parent or guardian of the child.
    3. Talk to the child about what to say to the child protective services worker.
    4. Have reasonable cause to suspect the child has been abused or neglected.
  12. When must a LDSS 2221A form be filed?
    1. Depends on the severity of the injury.
    2. Within five business days of making the oral report.
    3. Within 48 hours of making an oral report.
    4. The 2221A is no longer required.

Answers: 1-B, 2-B, 3-C, 4-D, 5-B, 6-B, 7-D, 8-A, 9-B, 10-B, 11-D, 12-C

When the suspected abuser is someone trusted or respected in the community, a reporter may fear not being believed. If the reporter is a friend or acquaintance of the suspected abuser, the reporter may not want to cause trouble for their friend. Unfortunately, an abuser may threaten the mandated reporter, or the reporter may be concerned that a report may cause the abuser to harm the child.

Protecting the child's safety and concern for a child's emotional or mental health are primary reasons for filing a report of child abuse. Legal obligation is another reason to report suspected child abuse.

In 2022, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) reported that more than 3 million children in the United States children received either an investigation response or alternative response. An estimated 560,000 were determined to be victims of child abuse and neglect. Three-quarters of child victims experienced neglect, 17% were physically abused, 10.6% were sexually abused, nearly 7% were psychologically maltreated, and 0.2% were sex trafficked. Nationally, 1,990 children died from abuse and neglect (DHHS, 2024).

In New York State (2021), just under 190,000 referrals of child abuse or neglect received an investigation; nearly 57,000 were substantiated victims. In 2021, two-thirds of child fatalities were younger than 3 years. Close to one-half of child fatalities were younger than 1 year. Although the victimization rates are higher for girls, boys have a higher child fatality rate than girls (DHHS, 2023).

American Indian/Alaska Native children have the highest rate of child victimization and Black children have the second highest rate. Child fatality rates are highest among Black/African American populations, followed by American Indian/Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders (DHHS, 2024).

That said, any amount of child abuse and neglect is too much. It is believed that the numbers likely underestimate how many children are affected by maltreatment because many cases go unreported or undetected. Physical and emotional scars can last a lifetime and are linked to higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, smoking, multiple sexual partners, suicide, and chronic disease.