Mandatory Reporter Information

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT MANDATORY REPORTING GUIDELINES

CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE
1-866-820-5437

  • By Montana law, all BPS employees are MANDATORY REPORTERS.
  • All BPS employees must report to DPHHS if they witness, know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused, neglected or abandoned.
  • Regardless of who the perpetrator is thought to be, school staff must report all cases of abuse or neglect to the Child Abuse Hotline.
  • If you think the act may be a crime, call the police immediately.
  • If a BPS employee is uncertain whether to report or to whom to report suspected abuse to, call the CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE.
  • In addition to reporting to DPHHS, BPS staff are expected to report their concerns to their principal or supervising administrator. Reporting to the principal or administrator does not replace the duty to report to DPHHS. Principals and administrators should inquire if the incident has already been reported and request that the staff member report if they have not already done so.
  • If the suspected perpetrator is a BPS staff member, you are directed to notify a principal, supervisor or administrator immediately in addition to your mandatory reporting obligations.

CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE
1-866-820-5437


‚ÄčTO REPORT:

Collect some information

  • Names and addresses of the parents, guardians, caregivers
  • The child’s age
  • The nature and extent of current and past injuries
  • Any information the reporter has that might be helpful in establishing the identity of the person or persons responsible
  • Any information the reporter has that might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries, neglect or harm
  • The facts that led the person to reporting
  • Document on the DPHHS Report Form. Documentation will serve as a record that you have fulfilled your responsibilities to report.
CALL 7 DAYS A WEEK, 24 HOURS A DAY
  • CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE
  • 1-866-820-5437
  • The call is answered by a trained Intake Specialist.

CONFIDENTIALITY: The names and any identifying information regarding the reporter are held confidential by DPHHS and are not released or disclosed by DPHHS unless a District Court Judge orders the release.

OTHER REPORTS: in addition to reporting to DPHHS, staff are expected to also report their concerns to their principal or your supervisor. Reporting to your principal or administrator does not replace your duties to report to DPHHS. REPORT TO THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE FIRST.

By Montana law, all BPS employees are MANDATORY REPORTERS.

The MANDATORY REPORTING laws apply equally to ANY AND ALL SCHOOL PERSONNEL (including but not limited to):

  • Administrators & Supervisors
  • Aides & Assistants
  • Bus Drivers
  • Coaches
  • Coordinators & Facilitators
  • Counselors
  • Crossing Guards
  • Custodians
  • Food Service Workers
  • Librarians
  • Maintenance staff
  • Medically Related Professionals
  • School Psychologists
  • Secretaries & Admin. Assistants
  • Substitutes
  • Teachers
  • Techs
  • Tutors
  • Warehouse staff

When a mandatory reporter knows or has reasonable cause to suspect, as a result of information received in a professional or official capacity, that a child is abused or neglected by anyone regardless of whether the person suspected iof causing the abuse or neglect is a parent or other person responsible for the child's welfare, they shall report the matter promptly to the Department of Public Health and Human Services. (MCA 41-3-201)


TERMS:
  • KNOWS OR HAS REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT: You do not need to have first-hand knowledge and you do not have to have proof. You do not need to investigate. You must simply have information that leads you to believe that a child is abused or neglected.
    • KNOWS = Witness an event; sees or has actual proof.
    • SUSPECTS = Reported by someone else to you; hearsay; suspicious concurrent events, etc.
  • AS A RESULT OF INFORMATION RECEIVED IN A PROFESSIONAL OR OFFICIAL CAPACITY: If you receive information regarding the abuse or neglect of a child while at work or fulfilling your job duties, then you are required to report.
  • CHILD: Any person under the age of 18.
  • ABUSE OR NEGLECT
    • Actual physical or psychological harm to a child;
    • Substantial risk of physical or psychological harm to a child; or
    • Abandonment
    • Examples:
      • Physical, non-accidental injuries; Bruises, human hand marks, welts, cigarette burns, broken bones, abrasions, human bite marks, missing hair, swelling, etc.
      • Extreme publicly displayed verbal outbursts that belittle or intimidate; swearing at a child
      • Extreme publicly displayed harsh criticism of a child
      • Threats to a child
      • Sexual abuse of a child
      • Sexual assault, sexual intercourse, indecent exposure, incest, etc.
      • Corrupting the child by teaching socially deviant patterns of behavior
      • Committing acts of violence toward another person with a child present
      • Leaving a child alone & unsupervised
      • Truancy with other neglectful behavior
      • Exposing a child to the criminal consumption, distribution or production of dangerous drugs
    • BY ANYONE It doesn’t matter if the person suspected of the abuse is a parent or other person responsible for the welfare of the child. If you know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused, you must report. DPHHS will decide if the report needs to be reported to the police. If you witness a crime, however, you should also call the police. Suspects could include:
      • Parents or step-parents
      • Boyfriends/girlfriends of parents
      • Boyfriends/girlfriends of the victim
      • Other family members; siblings
      • Friends of the family; neighbors
      • School staff members
      • Coaches
      • Day care providers
      • Church leaders
      • Strangers
      • Etc