Guidelines for Faculty/Staff in Dealing with Reports of Child Abuse/Neglect

Op7.09 Guidelines for Faculty/Staff in Dealing with Reports of Child Abuse/Neglect

Missouri State University (University) has a number of children on campus. Some professions are "mandated" reporters with respect to reports of child abuse and neglect requiring University faculty and staff to be aware of Missouri law’s requirements relating to the mandatory reporting of reports of child abuse and/or neglect. The following policies outlines the statutory requirements for mandated reporting of such instances, as well as the University’s efforts to vet employees who will be placed in certain facilities where children are known to be present.

Missouri law requires that when a Mandatory Reporter has “reasonable cause to suspect” that a Child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a Child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in in abuse or neglect, Missouri law REQUIRES the Mandatory Reporter to immediately report such suspicion to the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The hotline number for use in making mandatory reports is 1-800-392-3738. Additionally, some non-emergency reports may be made online by Mandatory Reporters at Online reports may be made only by Mandatory Reporters and cannot be made for reports of sexual abuse where the alleged perpetrator has immediate access to the child, methamphetamine lab exposure, or a suicidal child.

In the event that you make a hotline call in the course of your duties associated with employment by MSU, you must record the date and time of the call and the substance of the report made on a department issue form that may be kept in the regular course of business.

Definitions Relating to Mandated Reporters

A “Child” is any person, regardless of physical or mental condition, under eighteen (18) years of age.

Mandatory Reporters” include: physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, day care center workers, other child care workers, teachers, principals or other school officials, or other persons with responsibility for the care of children.  Some members of the campus community are considered “Mandated Reporters.” Mandatory Reporters are required to provide their name when they make a report.

Abuse” is defined as: any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means. Victims of abuse shall also include any victims of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking as those terms are defined in 22 U.SC. 78 Section 7102(9)-(10).

Neglect” is defined as: failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody and control of the child, the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition or medical, surgical, or any other care necessary for the child’s well-being. Victims of neglect shall also include any victims of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking as those terms are defined in 22 U.S.C. 78, §§ 7102(9)-(10).

Those “responsible for the care, custody and control of a child” include, without limitation: parents or legal guardians of a child, other members of the child’s household, those exercising jurisdiction over a child for any part of a 24-hour day, any person who has access to the child based on the relationship to the parents of the child or members of the child’s household or family, or any person who takes control of the child by deception, force or coercion. (emphasis added)

Reporting Requirement / Investigation not Appropriate

It is not appropriate to engage in any investigation as to the truth or veracity of allegations or concerns of child abuse or neglect; rather, investigation of the allegations or concerns is the responsibility of the Children’s Division and/or law enforcement.

Reporting requirements are individual and non-delegable, and no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit good faith reporting on the part of any Mandatory Reporter. If there is more than one Mandatory Reporter who has a suspicion of abuse or neglect, each has a separate duty to report. The report may be made collectively or individually, but each Mandatory Reporter with a suspicion must be represented in the report. Moreover, Mandatory Reporters who report suspicions of abuse and neglect in good faith and without ill intent are immune from any liability, whether civil or criminal, or adverse employment action.

Information that the hotline operator will ask for during the call includes:

  • Your name
  • Identifying information about the child and the family, if known
  • Information about the suspicion of abuse or neglect
  • Information about the family composition of the child or children, if known
  • Any actions taken by the reporting party, such as photographs, x-rays, or questioning.

Anonymous and Non-Mandatory Reporters

Anyone may make a hotline report by calling 1-800-392-3738 but only non-Mandatory Reporters may make reports anonymously. You are encouraged to err on the side of caution, and on the side of the child, in deciding whether to report.

Mandatory Reporting Training & State Child Abuse Neglect Searches

Pursuant to this Policy, the University shall require all employees assigned to Greenwood Laboratory School (Greenwood) or the Child Development Center (the CDC) to certify completion of the University’s Mandatory Reporter Training, and successfully complete a Child Abuse/Neglect Screening through the Missouri State Department of Social Services, Children’s Division.  Employees with a substantiated instance(s) of abuse or neglect will not be assigned to either Greenwood or the CDC. This requirement is in addition to and separate from any routine screening and/or background checks conducted by the University as part of the University’s hiring process.

Other Referral Sources

Other referral sources on campus and within the community
Referral Source Telephone Number
MSU Counseling Center, on campus consultation and referrals for students 417-836-5116
MSU Dean of Students Office, consultation and referrals 417-836-5527
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1-800-392-3738
Greene County Children's Division 417-895-6000
Elderly Abuse Hotline 1-800-392-0210
Springfield Police Department Campus Substation 417-836-5327
Parental Stress Helpline 1-800-367-2543
Harmony House, hotline and shelter for abused women and children 417-864-7233
Child Advocacy Center, center for forensic interviews and physical exams of children where physical or sexual abuse is suspected 417-831-2327
Missouri Victim Center, for counseling for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of personal violence 417-863-7273
MSU University Safety 417-836-5509