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Training School Personnel to Identify and Assist Child Victims: The School Child Abuse Liaison Progr


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Title: Training School Personnel to Identify and Assist Child Victims: The School Child Abuse Liaison Progr

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Training School Personnel to Identify and Assist
Child Victims The School Child Abuse Liaison
  • Rochelle F. Hanson, Ph.D.,
  • Medical University of SC
  • Elizabeth Ralston, Ph.D.,
  • Dee Norton Lowcountry Childrens Center
  • April 29, 2004
  • Strengthening Our Future Developing Healthy
    Children and Youth, Strong Families, and Safe
    Communities, sponsored by Substance Abuse Mental
    Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Kansas
    City, MO

A Community Initiative
  • Administered by The Dee Norton Lowcountry
    Childrens Center
  • In cooperation with the Charleston County School
    District, Charleston, SC

History of the Program
  • Identified as a need in our community
  • Grew out of a controversy regarding how to
    approach the prevention of child sexual abuse
  • Desire to expand the protective resources
    available to the children of our community
  • Core responsibilities and curriculum based on
    collaborative community effort
  • Curriculum can be adapted to fit the needs of any
    group or community.

Goals Objectives
  • To increase adult protective and supportive
    resources available to abused children in our
    local community schools
  • To increase participants knowledge about
  • the problem of child abuse and neglect
  • possible indicators of different typologies of
    abuse and neglect in children and how they may be
    exhibited in the school setting
  • their responsibility as a mandated reporter

Supportive Factors
  • The Dee Norton Lowcountry Childrens Center is a
    Childrens Advocacy Center accredited by The
    National Childrens Alliance.
  • Childrens Advocacy Centers promote collaboration
    in the community response to child abuse and

Collaborative Environment
  • CAC is a collaborative model for direct service
  • Expanded to include primary prevention.
  • Our local school district has been a partner
    with our CAC for over ten years.
  • CAC was a logical and appropriate organization to
    supervise the Child Abuse School Liaison.

Rationale for Partnershipbetween CAC and Schools
  • Focus of both organizations is children
  • Teachers spend concentrated time with school aged
  • School personnel are mandated reporters
  • Teachers are the front line of defense for
    children at risk
  • Child abuse negatively impacts the ability to
  • Children cannot protect themselves from abuse
  • It is the responsibility of adults to protect

Potential Barriers to Educators Being a
Protective Resource
  • Failure to accept the reality of child abuse and
    the negative impact on children
  • Lack of understanding about how children
    experience and respond to child abuse
  • Fear of getting involved
  • Not knowing what to do
  • Being afraid that reporting will have negative
    impact or personal repercussions
  • Not trusting the response of the child protection

How was the Program Developed?
  • Funding from a community collaboration to provide
    primary prevention in the schools.
  • Mandate to avoid duplication of services in the
  • Philosophical shift to adults assuming
    responsibility for identifying and reporting well as being a supportive and
    protective resource to children.

Program Development
  • Recommended that an adult be hired to
  • educate school personnel regarding their mandate
    to report suspected child abuse and neglect
  • serve as a consultant to other adults within the
    school system
  • teach adults about how to be a protective
    resource for children

Response of the Schools
  • School District defined this as a common sense
  • Supported the training as consistent with the
    role of mandated reporter
  • Believed this approach would be protective of
    both children and the schools.
  • Based on their historical relationship with the
    CAC, they agreed to have CAC staff inside the

Objective 1 Training
  • Create a training package containing state of the
    art information on child abuse and neglect
  • Conduct workshops for teachers, guidance
    counselors and other school personnel on
    typologies of abuse, indicators, community
    resources and mandated reporting laws.
  • Maintain records of each training to include
    attendance log, a copy of the materials
    distributed, pre-post tests and evaluations.

Objective 2 Consultation
  • To serve as a consultant to school personnel and
    act as a liaison to other victim serving agencies
    regarding allegations of abuse.
  • Support school personnel in their mandate to
    report suspected abuse and neglect.

Position DescriptionInitial Tasks
  • Develop an evaluation process for the program
  • Review literature, research, legislation and
    clinical information related to school
    achievement and behavior
  • Invite and accompany school personnel to
    community staffings
  • Gather information from school personnel to
    present at community staffings
  • Participate in monthly community problem solving
  • Assist school personnel in other needs as

Expanded Tasks Additional Training Activities
  • Training to
  • Schools outside of the Charleston area including
    private schools
  • Education and Counseling programs to prepare
    students for their role as mandated reporters and
    as protective adults
  • Staff of residential treatment facilities,
    domestic violence shelters, recreation
    departments, childcare centers, child protection
    workers and clergy.

Expanded Tasks
  • Development of a Liaison Brochure that describes
    the who, what, when, where and how of the
  • Member of community task force and committees
    related to the prevention of child abuse and the
    delivery of service to child victims
  • Development of a resource guide specific to the
    needs of school personnel and mandated reporters
    to help identify community resources for abused
    children and their families

Expanded Tasks
  • Development of a mandated reporter video that
    supports the goals and objectives of the program
  • Development of a pamphlet and workbook to
    supplement and expand the information provided in
    the video.
  • Gathered feedback from individuals who have
    viewed the video and incorporated the feedback in
    the supplemental materials.

Expanded Tasks
  • Increasing public awareness of child abuse and
    neglect through participation at local
    conferences and health fairs
  • Providing information regarding the services
    available through the CAC and through the CASL
  • Providing trainings on how to get a report

Program ImplementationStandard Training Packet
  • Includes sign in sheet, an agenda, objectives,
  • Handouts include information on
  • history of mandated reporting
  • child abuse and mandated reporting statistics
  • facts and laws
  • child abuse myths
  • definitions and indicators for the various
    typologies of maltreatment
  • reporting and responding to abuse
  • available community resources

Training Topics
  • Facts about Maltreatment
  • Mandatory Reporting Laws
  • Defining Abuse Neglectful Behavior
  • Myths and Facts
  • Behavioral Physical Indicators of Child Abuse
  • Guidelines for Mandatory Reporters within CCSD
  • Boundaries
  • Why Should You Report

Training Topics Facts about Maltreatment
  • Trainer encourages participants to read facts on
    their own and ask questions to stimulate
  • Trainer can clarify specific points, depending on
    needs of participants

Training Topics Mandatory Reporting Laws
  • Objectives
  • to ensure that participants know they are
    mandated reporters
  • to inform participants about the specific
    mandated reporter law(s)
  • when to report
  • to whom to report
  • what to report

Training Topics Defining Abuse Neglect
  • Review handout
  • Discuss that definitions may vary
  • Use examples of different abuse typologies
  • Highlight new information or any updated laws

Training Topics Myths Facts
  • The trainer asks the participants to indicate if
    the information is a myth or a fact to stimulate
    group discussion.
  • The trainer should be cautious to ensure that the
    participants are clear as to the facts.
  • The trainer encourages the audience to ask
    questions clarifying any beliefs or myths they
    have regarding child maltreatment
  • Discussing reactions and answering questions can
    also help increase awareness of child abuse

Training Topics Behavioral Physical Indicators
  • Important to know both behavioral and physical
  • Absence of indicators does not rule out abuse
  • Review indicators through interactive discussion
  • Ask questions to get participants to think about
    what they might see to make them concerned about
  • Emphasize that this is a list of potential
    indicators that require attention but dont
    necessarily indicate abuse

Training Topics Guidelines for Mandatory
Reporters within CCSD
  • Must comply with local school policies and
  • Review policies step by step
  • Offer opportunities to question and discuss each
    step and identify potential barriers
  • Provide clinical examples and use role plays

Training Topics Why Should You Report?
  • Handout is designed to identify laws and legal
    implications for reporting or not reporting
  • Purpose is to empower school personnel to take
    action to protect children

  • Liaison is also available to school personnel,
    community agency staff, professionals and others
    for consultation
  • Consultation can include
  • Questions about state mandated reporter laws
  • Role of a mandated reporter
  • How to make reports to local authorities (i.e.,
    child protective services, law enforcement)
  • When to report to CPS vs. law enforcement
  • What information to expect about the outcome of
    the report
  • Specific clinical needs of a child and family
  • Available community resources for children

Consultations Completing the Consultation Form
  • Documents
  • name of person requesting consult along with
    phone, fax, name of school, brief description of
    concerns and any feedback or suggestions made
  • Way of tracking each consultation for future
  • Also used for follow-up purposes
  • Data from form is entered in excel spreadsheet
    for tracking purposes

Implementation to Other Communities
  • Conduct Needs Assessment
  • Reach Community consensus regarding need for
  • Establish funding
  • Liaison, in consultation with school district and
    CAC, develops curriculum
  • Next step taking information into individual
    schools and organizations
  • Must establish relationship with leadership of
    each individual school
  • Liaison must be mentored by school personnel

Implementation Establishing Relationships with
Individual Schools
  • Liaison needs to be educated about culture of
    each individual school
  • Whom to contact
  • Any resistance to outsiders
  • Past experiences around child abuse cases
  • Support from school district administration is

ImplementationEstablishing Communication with
  • Prior to beginning of new school year, Liaison
    requests a list of all current superintendents,
    principals and guidance counselors
  • Sends introductory letter that includes brief
    biography of Liaison and detailed description of
    available services
  • Letters first sent to District superintendent,
    then to area superintendents, then
    Principals,Guidance Directors (down chain of
  • Then, phone contact with school district
    directors for Guidance, Nursing, School Resource
    Officer, School Psychologist and Staff
    Development Coordinator to set up meeting and ask
    for tour of school
  • Contact at beginning of school year allows
    Liaison to get on in-service and/or staff meeting

Implementation Establishing Communication with
  • During initial meeting Liaison documents issues
    discussed - Includes
  • Liaison services available to school and at LCC
  • Information about current reporting process of
    the school
  • Past, current, future training/consultation needs
    of the school
  • Establishing dates for trainings
  • Documenting any needed follow-up
  • Informing school personnel of professional
    training/conferences available at state/local
  • After meetings, Liaison sends thank you letter
    and makes follow-up phone calls

Implementation Support Supervision
  • Community Services Coordinator at DNLCC
    supervises Liaison and gets feedback from school
    personnel regarding performance
  • Information/feedback is documented into yearly
    performance evaluation and performance review
  • Community Services Coordinator, Executive
    Director, and DNLCC clinical team are available
    to Liaison for guidance, support
  • Executive Director of DNLCC has final approval on
    all decisions, policies

How is Program Being Evaluated
  • Track of trainings
  • Get feedback regarding use and efficacy of
    services provided by Liaison
  • Training Evaluations
  • solicits feedback on content of trainings,
    evaluates trainer performance, and
    recommendations for changes and future training
  • Pre-post testing to assess changes in participant

  • In 2002, School Liaison provided more than 250
    consultations to school personnel
  • In the 1st 6 months of our NCTSN grant (from
    December, 03 - March, 04)
  • Liaison conducted 8 trainings and provided 370
    consultations to school personnel
  • includes phone contacts, in person consults and
    case management staffings
  • An additional 2 trainings have been scheduled for
    April, 2004

Pre-Post Testing
  • Purpose to measure learning
  • Can vary depending on group size focus of
  • Pre and Post tests are on front and back of 1
    sheet of paper to compare and compile scores

  • True/False
  • 1. If I only suspect a student to be abused, I
    do not need to report it to DSS or to law
  • 2. I need only to inform my supervisor/principal
    or guidance counselor of abuse or neglect and
    they will report it to the proper authorities
  • 3. Child abuse is not a problem among affluent,
    educated, and religious families.
  • 4. Do not probe the child for details if they
    disclose abuse to you.
  • 5. If you know the parent who is alleged to be
    abusing his/her child, handle this within the
  • 6. An indicator of physical abuse might be
    clothing that is inappropriate for the climate,
    such as a long sleeve shirt in June.
  • 7. A child who is too good may be a victim of
  • 8. Discipline is a familys business and it is
    not my duty to report physical discipline that
    results in visible bruising.
  • 9. If a colleague shares that a child has
    disclosed sexual abuse, it is my duty to report
    it to ot DSS or law enforcement.
  • 10. As a reporter, I have the right to find out
    the outcome of the DSS investigation.
  • 11. Many reports by children are false

Knowledge Questionnaire for School Liaison
Future Directions
  • In process of revising pre-post questionnaire to
    choose most discriminating items
  • Establish consistent funding for the position
  • Expand to outlying counties
  • Expand to include one Liaison per county school
  • Elicit information and respond to identified need
    for additional services
  • Distribute Mandated Reporting video across school
  • Utilize Mandated Reporting Video statewide and
    possibly as mandatory training for school
  • Continue to revise training materials
  • Expand training curriculum and training
  • Develop community resource guide

Future Directions
  • Continue to identify gaps in services and
    resources to child abuse victims and fill those
    gaps through community collaborative efforts
  • Develop credited course for school personnel
    through local university
  • Develop training for school personnel regarding
    effects of abuse on childrens behavior
  • Develop training on effective classroom
    management strategies for children who have been
  • Ongoing evaluation of program effectiveness
  • Dissemination to other communities