Child Abuse Reporting
TO: All Campus Community
FROM: Human Resources
DATE: October 10, 2006
RE: Requirement to Report Child Abuse RCW 26.44.030
The reporting statute, RCW 26.44.030, states that
RCW 26.44.030. "`Professional school personnel' shall include, but not be limited to, teachers, counselors, administrators, child care facility personnel, and school nurses." RCW 26.44.020(7). "`Social service counselor' shall include anyone engaged in a professional capacity during the regular course of employment in encouraging or promoting the health, welfare, support or education of children . . . ." RCW 26.44.020(8). Due to the broad definition of "professional school personnel" and the remedial purpose of the statute, the mandatory reporting requirements apply equally to K‑12 and college personnel.
For purposes of this Act, a "child" is any person under the age of 18, and "abuse or neglect" means "injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, negligent treatment, or maltreatment of a child, adult dependent, or developmentally disabled person by any person under circumstances which indicate that the child's or adult's health, welfare, and safety is harmed. " RCW 26.44.020(6), (12).
The report of child abuse or neglect to law enforcement or the Department of Social and Health Services must be made at the first opportunity but no later than 48 hours after the individual becomes aware of the suspected child abuse. A person can report alleged child abuse to the Department of Social and Health Services hot‑line by calling 1‑800‑562‑5624.
When a person reports alleged child abuse to the Department of Social and Health services or law enforcement, the person needs to inform the authorities of each of the following, if known:
An immediate oral report shall be made by telephone or otherwise to the proper law enforcement agency or the department of social and health services and, upon request, shall be followed by a report in writing. Such reports shall contain the following information, if known:
(1) The name, address, and age of the child or adult dependent or developmentally disabled person;
(2) The name and address of the child's parents, stepparents, guardians, or other persons having custody of the child or the residence of the adult dependent or developmentally disabled person;
(3) The nature and extent of the alleged injury or injuries;
(4) The nature and extent of the alleged neglect;
(5) The nature and extent of the alleged sexual abuse;
(6) Any evidence of previous injuries, including their nature and extent; and
(7) Any other information which may be helpful in establishing the cause of the child's or adult dependent or developmentally disabled person's death, injury, or injuries and the identity of the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators.
While violation of the mandatory reporting requirements is a gross misdemeanor, (RCW 26.44.080). the Act provides that "any person participating in good faith in the making of a report. . . [is] immune from any liability arising out of such reporting. " RCW 26.44.060. Further, any other person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child or adult dependent or developmentally disabled person has suffered from abuse or neglect may file a report with the same immunity. RCW 25.44.030(3),.060.
I trust that you will find this memorandum of some assistance.