Staff and volunteers should have a detailed understanding of their responsibility to report child abuse and neglect. At your YSO (Youth-Serving Organization), staff and volunteers should know when to report, how to report, and to whom the reports must be made.
To establish effective reporting outcomes:
Establish clear reporting policies and procedures and ensure they are reviewed by all staff at hire and at least annually. Create and disseminate clear policies and procedures on reporting at your organization. Staff and volunteers should be given an opportunity to look over reporting policies often.
Ensure all staff and volunteers are aware of how to make a report, whom to notify, how to complete required documentation, and adhere to confidentiality. All staff and volunteers should understand the entire reporting process, including the chain of reporting and how to write the report itself. In some cases, it may be beneficial to create a form for staff to record incidents.
Train all staff and volunteers on when, how, and to whom to report suspected abuse or disclosures of abuse. Leadership should discuss what kinds of behaviors or suspicions warrant reports. Staff and volunteers should be well-informed about the process of reporting suspected or disclosed sexual abuse.
Guarantee staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities to report under Massachusetts law and your YSOs internal protocols. Clearly communicate to staff their status and responsibilities as mandated reporters as well as the organizational reporting requirements and responsibilities of volunteers. Leadership should ensure staff and volunteers clearly understand their role in the reporting process in accordance with both legal and organizational standards.
Determine your YSO’s communication and public relations policy, including how to respond to allegations, and disclosures of abuse committed by any staff or volunteer. There should be a specified internal investigation (not to interfere with the DCF investigation or involve the alleged victim) and transparent communication process if a staff member or volunteer is reported as a perpetrator of harmful or inappropriate behaviors or sexual abuse. Leadership should determine policies impacting the community’s views of safety at their organization.
Knowledge and use of internal and external reporting policies, procedures, and protocols will provide better outcomes of safety for children at your YSO. Staff and volunteers must be aware of their individual duties and responsibilities for upholding safety and legal standards at the YSO.
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