Guide to Complete Mandated Reporter Training

Swing’s Guide To Completing Mandated Reporter Training

California requires all substitute teachers to complete training to become a certified mandated reporters. A mandated reporter is a person who, because of their profession, is legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities. In order to sub with Swing in California, you must verify with us that you have completed the training and passed the test. Here’s how:

  1. Register your account on the official state website here                                                          
    • If this is your first time registering, you will receive an email to confirm your account 
    • Once signed in, select the School Personnel course
  1. Watch the training module                 
    • The full Mandated Reporter Training for School Personnel training module is available here.
    • You may want to review the FAQ below to help achieve a passing score on the exam. 
  1. Complete Exam                                                                                                                                       
    • Click on “Take Exam” and complete the 20 questions. If you get stuck on any questions, refer back to the FAQ below.                   
    • A passing score of 80% or more will qualify you for a Certificate of Completion. This is available to you under the “courses” tab.
  1. Sign the Swing Education Forms
    • Sign in to your Swing Account
    • Verify that you have completed the training by clicking on the arrow next to your name > Account Settings > California Mandated Reporter Training > Complete
    • Proceed to digitally sign the form

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a mandated reporter? Mandated reporters are required by the state of California to report any known or suspected instances of child abuse or neglect to the county child welfare department or to local law enforcement agency (local police/sheriff's department). Anyone who encounters children through their profession, including substitute teachers and all school employees, must be a mandated reporter, pursuant to California Penal Code 11165.7 and California Education Code 44691. 

Why must you report? The primary intent of the reporting law is to protect the child from abuse and neglect. Reporting may also present an opportunity to provide help for the family. Parents who are under stress may be unable to ask for help directly, and may not know where or how to access support/help. A report of suspected abuse or neglect may be the catalyst for bringing about change in the home environment, which in turn may help to lower the risk of abuse or neglect in the home. 

How much proof do I need to provide that abuse or neglect has occurred? No proof of abuse or neglect is needed, only "reasonable suspicion” that child abuse or neglect may have occurred. If you are at all concerned about the possibility of abuse or neglect, you should report. Investigations will be conducted by law enforcement and/or the county child welfare department to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred. Delayed reporting while awaiting further information may hinder the investigation by the appropriate agencies. 

How do I report? Mandated reporters must report to a county child welfare department or to local law enforcement (police or sheriff's department) immediately by phone. A written report must then be sent within 36 hours by fax, or it may be sent by electronic submission, if a secure system has been made available for that purpose in your county. Written reports must be submitted on the California Suspected Child Abuse Report Form 8572. 

Can I report the abuse or neglect anonymously? No. Mandated reporters must identify themselves to the county child welfare department when making child abuse or neglect reports. However, persons who are not legally mandated may make anonymous reports. 

Who will know that I made the child abuse or neglect report? The law enforcement officer and/or county child welfare worker investigating the case will have your name in order to contact you about the report. Other professionals involved in the case, such as detectives, and attorneys will have access to your name as well. However, your identity cannot be disclosed to the family or anyone else not directly involved in the investigation of the case. If your case results in a trial and you are required to testify, your identity may be revealed in court. 

Do I need to tell the parents that I filed a report? You are not legally required to notify the parents that you are making a report. However, it may be beneficial to let the parents know you are reporting for the benefit of a future relationship. Copies of the report should be kept confidential and should never be given to any parties other than social services or law enforcement. 

If I tell my supervisor about my concerns of abuse or neglect, have I met the obligation for mandated reporting? No. Telling a supervisor does not meet the mandated reporting requirement. If a decision is made that the supervisor will complete and submit the report to the county child welfare department or law enforcement agency, then one report is sufficient. 

What if my supervisor tells me not to report my concerns because they are not sufficient? You must still make a report to the county child welfare department or local law enforcement. If the supervisor disagrees, the individual with the original suspicion must report. 

If the incident I report turns out not to be the result of abuse or neglect, can I be sued? As long as a child abuse or neglect report is made in good faith, the mandated reporter is legally protected from civil or criminal lawsuits. Any legally mandated reporter has immunity and confidentiality when making a report. No individual can be dismissed, disciplined or harassed for making a report of suspected child abuse. 

What happens if I am concerned about abuse or neglect and I do not make a report? Legally mandated reporters can be criminally liable for failing to report suspected abuse or neglect. The penalty for this misdemeanor is up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Mandated reporters can also be subject to a civil lawsuit, and found liable for damages, especially if the child-victim or another child is further victimized because of the failure to report. 

Will I have to testify in court? The majority of cases don’t go to trial. If they do, and the professional may be required to testify, it is important to remember that the testimony may be essential for the protection of the child. 

What happens if the children are removed from the home? This varies somewhat from county to county. If the county child welfare department determines that children must be removed from the home, they may be temporarily placed with an approved relative or in a licensed foster care home or facility depending on the county. If a child is removed, the case must be presented to a judge within 72 hours to determine if the removal is necessary or appropriate pending the rest of the investigation. 

What happens after the report is filed? After a report is filed, the county child welfare department or local law enforcement agency investigates the allegations. These agencies are also required to cross report suspected child abuse or neglect cases to each other. The county child welfare department or law enforcement agency investigation will result in one of three outcomes. 

  1. Unfounded report - the report is false, or does not involve abuse, such as an accidental injury 2. Substantiated report - it is determined that child abuse has occurred 
  1. Inconclusive report - there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not abuse has occurred. Only substantiated reports of child abuse and severe neglect must be forwarded to the Department of Justice. The county child welfare department will determine if children need to be removed from the home or if services need to be offered to the parents or caregivers. Law enforcement agencies may also pursue criminal prosecution. 

Sources: 

http://mandatedreporterca.com 

https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/ap/childabusereportingguide.asp  

Reference California Mandated Reporter Training 

The information above is provided by Swing Education in reference to the California Department of Education and the California Department of Child Support Services. For more information, please reference the complete training: https://mandatedreporterca.com/training/school-personnel

 

Additional questions? Ask us here.

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