NORWICH FREE ACADEMY
REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
The Norwich Free Academy (NFA) recognizes its legal and ethical obligations in the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. Mandated reporters include all NFA employees, specifically the Head of Schools/Superintendent, administrators, teachers, substitute teachers, guidance counselors, intervention specialists, coaches of intramural and interscholastic athletics, as well as licensed nurses, physicians, psychologists and social workers either employed by NFA or working at NFA, or any other person who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled at NFA. Such individual(s) who, in the ordinary course of their employment or profession, have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused, neglected, placed in imminent risk of serious harm, or sexually assaulted by a school employee is required to report such abuse and/or neglect or risk, and/or sexual assault.
A mandated reporter’s suspicions may be based on factors including, but not limited to, observations, allegations, facts or statements by a child, victim, or third party. Suspicion or belief does not require certainty or probable cause.
Furthermore, NFA requires all personnel who have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child, under the age of eighteen (18) has had non-accidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of such injury, or is placed in imminent danger of serious harm to report such cases in accordance with the law and NFA policy. The mandatory reporting requirement for suspicion of sexual assault of a student by an NFA employee applies based on the individual’s status as a student, rather than his or her age; there is no requirement that the student be under eighteen to trigger the reporting requirement.
A mandated reporter shall make an oral report, by telephone or in person, to the Commissioner of Children and Families or a law enforcement agency as soon as possible, but no later than twelve (12) hours after the reporter has reasonable cause to suspect the child has been abused or neglected or placed in imminent risk of serious harm. Not later than forty-eight hours of making the oral report, the mandated reporter shall file a written report with the Commissioner of Children and Families or his/her designee. The mandated reporter shall provide a copy of the written report to the Head of Schools/Superintendent. The Department of Children and Families has established a 24 hour Child Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-842-2288 for the purpose of making such oral reports. On and after October 1, 2019, mandated reporters may file reports electronically if they so choose. All electronic reports must include the same information required to be contained in an oral or in person report. A reporter who electronically files shall respond to further DCF inquiries within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving the report.
All reports of suspected abuse, neglect or sexual assault shall include, if known: (1) the names and addresses of the child and his/her parents/guardians; (2) the child’s age; (3) the child’s gender; (4) the nature and extent of the child’s injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect; (5) the approximate date and time the injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect occurred; (6)
information concerning any previous injury or injuries to, or maltreatment or neglect of, the child or his/her siblings; (7) the circumstances in which the injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect came to be known to the reporter; (8) the name of the person(s) suspected to be responsible for causing such injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect; (9) the reasons such person or persons are suspected of causing such injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect; (10) any information concerning any prior cases in which such person or persons have been suspected of causing an injury, maltreatment or neglect of a child; and (11) whatever action, if any, was taken to treat, provide shelter or otherwise assist the child.
Any person required to make a report who either fails to make such report or fails to make it within the prescribed time frame, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. However, such person shall be guilty of a class E felony under Connecticut law if such violation is a subsequent violation; the violation is a willful or intentional act; due to gross negligence; or the mandated reporter had actual knowledge of the abuse, neglect or sexual assault.
If the report of abuse, neglect, or sexual assault involves an NFA employee as the perpetrator, NFA may conduct its own investigation into the allegation, provided that such investigation shall not interfere with or impede any investigation conducted by the Department of Children and Families or by a law enforcement agency.
NFA recognizes that the Department of Children and Families is required to disclose records to the Head of Schools/Superintendent in response to a mandated reporter’s written or oral report of abuse or neglect or if the Commissioner of Children and Families has reasonable belief that a NFA employee abused or neglected a student. If DCF has reasonable cause and recommends the employee be placed on DCF’s Child Abuse and Neglect Registry, the Head of Schools/Superintendent shall suspend such employee.
NFA, recognizing its responsibilities to protect children and in compliance with its statutory obligations, shall provide in-service training regarding the requirements and obligations of mandated reporters. NFA employees may participate in training offered by the Department of Children and Families, or equivalent training offered by NFA. Each school employee is required to complete a refresher training program, not later than three years after completion of the initial training program and shall thereafter retake such refresher training course at least once every three years.
The Head of Schools/Superintendent shall annually certify that each NFA employee has completed the required initial training and the refresher training.
State law prohibits retaliation against a mandated reporter for fulfilling his/her obligations to report suspected child abuse or neglect. NFA shall not retaliate against any mandated reporter for his/her compliance with the law and with this policy.
In accordance with the mandates of the law and consistent with its philosophy, NFA directs the Head of Schools/Superintendent to develop and formalize the necessary rules and regulations to comply fully with the intent of the law.
This policy will be distributed annually to all employees. Documentation shall be maintained that all employees have, in fact, received the written policy and completed training related to mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect as required by law.
Establishment of a Confidential Rapid Response Team
NFA shall establish a confidential rapid response team to coordinate with DCF to (1) ensure prompt reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect; or 1st,, 3rd, or 4th degree sexual assault; 1st degree aggravated sexual assault; or 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm of a student by an NFA employee and (2) provide immediate access to information and individuals relevant to DCF’s investigation of such cases.
The confidential rapid response team shall consist of (1) members of the house student support team, including the house principal, (2) a member of the campus safety office, (3) a local police officer, and (4) any other person the NFA deems appropriate.
DCF, along with a multidisciplinary team, is required to take immediate action to investigate and address each report of child abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse at NFA.
Any person applying for employment with NFA shall submit to a record check of the Department of Children and Families Child Abuse and Neglect Registry before the person may be hired.
NFA will not employ anyone who was terminated or resigned after a suspension based on DCF’s investigation, if he or she has been convicted of (1) child abuse or neglect, or (2) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree sexual assault; 1st degree aggravated sexual assault; or 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm of a student.
NFA will not employ an individual who was terminated or resigned, if he or she (1) failed to report the suspicion of such crimes when required to do so or (2) intentionally and unreasonably interfered with or prevented a mandated reporter from carrying out this obligation or conspired or attempted to do so. This applies regardless of whether an allegation of abuse, neglect, or sexual assault has been substantiated.
Posting of DCF’s “Careline”
NFA directs that the telephone number for DCF’s Careline and the internet website that provides information about the Careline be posted in a conspicuous location at NFA. The posting shall be in various languages appropriate for the students enrolled at NFA.
Connecticut General Statutes
10-220 a In-service training. Professional development and evaluation committees.
Institutes for educators. Cooperating teacher program, regulations
10-221 d Criminal history and child abuse and neglect registry records check of school personnel. Fingerprinting. Termination or dismissal
17a-28 Definitions. Confidentiality and access to records; exceptions. Procedure for aggrieved persons.
17a-101 Protection of children from abuse. Mandated reporters.
17a-101a Report of abuse, neglect or injury of child or imminent risk of serious harm to child. Penalty for failure to report. Notification of Chief State’s Attorney.
17a-103 Reports by others. False reports. Notification to law enforcement agency.
17a-106 Cooperation in relation to prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse/neglect.
17a-106b Report by mandated reporter. Notification of law enforcement agency when allegation of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse.
10-151 Teacher Tenure Act
P.A. 11-93 An Act Concerning the Response of School Districts and the Departments of Education and Children and Families to Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect and the Identification of Foster Children in a School District
P.A. 14-186 An Act Concerning the Department of Children and Families and the Protection of Children.
P.A. 15-205 An Act Protecting School Children
P.A. 18-67 An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Statutes of the Department of Children and Families and Establishing a Pilot Program to Permit Electronic Reporting by Mandated Reporters.
Supersedes/Amends Policy: December 10, 1991
Policy adopted: December 16, 1997
Policy revised: April 21, 2009, September 17, 2019