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The School Committee will be having a second reading of the following policies at its meeting on February 27, 2020:  Policy JLF - Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect, Policy JLF-E - Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Report Form, Policy JLF-R - Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Administrative Procedure, and Policy JLFA - Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response.  All proposed policies are listed below.

JLF – Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

I. DEFINITIONS

A. Child abuse or neglect. Child abuse or neglect is defined by Maine law as “a threat to a child’s health or welfare by physical, mental or emotional injury or impairment, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs or lack of protection from these, or failure to ensure compliance with school attendance requirements under Title 20-A” (specifically when a child who is at least seven years of age and has not completed grade six, has the equivalent of seven full days of unexcused absences or five consecutive school days of unexcused absences during a school year).

B. Person responsible for the child. A “person responsible for the child” means a person with responsibility for a child’s health or welfare, whether in the child’s home or another home or a facility which, as part of its function, provides for the care of the child. It includes the child’s parent, guardian or other custodian.

II. EMPLOYEES’ DUTY TO REPORT

A. Any employee of the school unit who has reason to suspect that a child has

been or is likely to be abused or neglected must immediately notify the building principal.

1. In addition to notifying the building principal, the employee may also make a report directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the District Attorney (see also Section III.B which provides further information about reporting to DHHS and/or the District Attorney).

B. If the reporting employee does not receive written confirmation from the building administrator/Superintendent designee within 24 hours of his/her report that a report has been made to DHHS and/or District Attorney, the employee shall make an immediate report directly to DHHS and, if the p person suspected is not a person responsible for the child, to the District Attorney. In such cases, the employee shall then complete a copy of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Form (JLF-E).

C. If the reporting employees does receive written confirmation from the building administrator/Superintendent designee within 24 hours of his/her report (which is a copy of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Form (JLF-E), he/she shall sign the form as acknowledgement that the report was made and return it to the building administrator/Superintendent designee.

III. ADMINISTRATOR REPORTING ANDCONFIRMATION DUTIES

All building administrators, the director of instructional support, social workers, school counselors, nurses, and the superintendent are designated agents to make child abuse and neglect reports. [NOTE: Other administrators may also be designated at the discretion of the Superintendent.]

A. If a building administrator receives the report, he/she shall notify the director of instructional support, who shall notify the superintendent immediately.

B. The Superintendent or building administrator/designee shall then make a verbal and written report(s) of suspected abuse or neglect to DHHS. In addition, if the person suspected is not the parent, guardian or other custodian of the child, the Superintendent/building administrator/designee shall also make a report to the District Attorney.

1. The law requires the reporting employee to make his/her own report to DHHS and/or the District Attorney if he/she has not received confirmation within 24 hours that such a report has been made by the Superintendent/building administrator/designee.

C. The person making the report to DHHS and/or the District Attorney shall complete the Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect Form (JLF-E).

D. The Superintendent/building administrator/designee shall provide a copy of the Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect Form to the reporting employee within 24 hours of the employee’s initial report. The reporting employee shall sign the report and return it to the Superintendent/building administrator/designee.

E. The form will be forwarded to DHHS and/or the District Attorney, and shall be retained by the school unit for ten years, as specified in the Maine Archives Rules, along with any other information relevant to the case.

IV. INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND DISCIPLINE

A. Employees. If the person suspected of abuse or neglect is an employee, the superintendent/designee shall investigate and take appropriate action, in accordance with applicable Yarmouth School Committee policies, collective bargaining contracts, and federal and state laws.

B. Students. If the person suspected of abuse or neglect is a student, and the abuse or neglect occurred on school premises, during a school activity, or is otherwise related to the school, the Superintendent building administrator/designee shall investigate and take appropriate action, in accordance with applicable School Committee policies and federal and state laws.

V. INTERVIEWS OF CHILD AND SCHOOL PERSONNEL

DHHS personnel shall be permitted to meet with and interview the child named in the report when the child is present at school as provided in this section without prior notification to the parent or custodian when DHHS has reasonable grounds to believe that prior notice would increase the threat of serious harm to the child or another person. The Department may conduct one initial interview with a child without prior notification to the parent or custodian of the child when the child contacts DHHS or a person providing services puts the child into contact with DHHS.

Upon request of a DHHS employee to meet with and interview the child named in the report when the child is present at school, the building administrator or designee shall:

A. Require the DHHS employee requesting to interview the child to provide written certification that in the Department’s judgment, the interview is necessary to carry out its duties;

B. Require the DHHS caseworker to discuss the circumstances of the interview and any relevant information regarding the alleged abuse or neglect with the child’s teacher, guidance, school nurse, social worker or building administrator as the caseworker deems is necessary to provide needed emotional support to the child prior to and following the interview;

C. Not place conditions on how the interview is conducted, including, but not necessarily limited to requiring that certain persons be present during the interview; prohibiting certain persons from being present during the interview; and requiring notice to or consent from a parent or guardian;

D. Provide an appropriate, quiet and private place for the interview; and

E. Not disclose any information about DHHS’s intention to interview the child except to school officials or the school’s attorney who need the information to comply with the interview request.

VI. CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION AND RECORDS

All records, reports and information concerning alleged cases of child abuse and neglect shall be kept confidential to the extent required by School Committee policies and applicable law.

The building administrator/designee is permitted to release a child’s school records without prior consent of the parent/guardian to DHHS or law enforcement officials in response to a lawful subpoena, or as necessary to protect the health or safety of the child or other individuals under federal law.

VII. TRAINING

Any school unit employee who is required to make a report shall, at least once every f our years, complete mandated training approved by DHHS.

VIII. GOOD FAITH IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY

Any person who in good faith reports, assists DHHS in making the child available for an interview, or participates in the investigation or proceedings of a child protection investigation is immune from any criminal or civil liability for the act of reporting or participating in the investigation or proceeding. Good faith does not include instances when a false report is made and the person knows the report is false.

Legal Reference: 22 MRSA Chap. 1071, Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act

22 MRSA §4011-A

20 USC § 1232g, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

20-A M.R.S.A. §§ 5051-A(1)(C); 5051-A(2)(C)

Cross Reference: ACAA – Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students

JLF-E –Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Report Form

JLF-R – Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Administrative Procedure

JRA – Student Records

Adopted: March 13, 2008

Revised: November 12, 2015

Any employee of the Yarmouth School Department who suspects that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected (the “notifying person”) must immediately notify the building principal administrator/designee using this form. The purpose of this form is to document your reporting and to facilitate confirmation to you that the building principal administrator/designee building principal or other designated school official has made your report to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or, as appropriate to the District Attorney.

If you have not received written confirmation within 24 hours of submitting this form to the building principal administrator/designee, you must make your own report to DHHS or, if appropriate, to the DA.

1) Name/title/telephone number and email address of notifying person (person who originally has the information and is required to report it):

2) Date and time of notifying person’s report:

3) Name/title of school principal /designated agent building administrator/designee first

report made to:

4) Did notifying person contact DHS independently: _____ Yes _____ No

5) Name of student who is subject of report:

Birthdate: _____________________ Sex: ____ Grade: ______

Known history of abuse/neglect?

Parent/Guardian Name(s):

Address:

Home and work telephone numbers:

Name(s) of sibling(s):

6) Statements or indicators leading to the suspicion of abuse/neglect (include all known

information: date, time and location, name of alleged abuser, and relationship to student):

7) List any photographs taken or other materials collected related to the report:

8) Actions taken by school personnel (list date, time and personnel involved):

CONFIRMATION OF REPORT

(Used for confirming principal or designated agent’s building administrator/designee’s report to authorities)

Name of principal or designated agent building administrator/designee:

Agency contacted by telephone:

Name and title of agency contact:

Date and time of telephone report:

Copy of report form sent (include date and addressee):

________________________________ _______________________

Principal or designated agent’s

Building administrator/designee’s signature Date and Time

EMPLOYEE’S ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT OF CONFIRMATION

(To be returned to principal or designated agent building administrator/designee)

I have received confirmation that my report has been made to DHHS or the DA by the Principal or other Designated Agent building administrator/designee.

______________________________________ __________________

Notifying Person/Original Reporter’s Signature Date and Time

________________________________________________________________________

(Employee’s Signature)

___________________________________

Date and Time

Approved: November 12, 2015

Revised:

JLF-R – Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Administrative Procedure

This procedure implements Yarmouth School Committee policy JLF – Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect. It summarizes the steps to be taken when a school employee suspects that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.

The “notifying person” refers to the person who has the information that gives rise to the suspicion that a child has been is likely to be abused or neglected and is required by law to report it, such as a teacher, principal, guidance counselor or bus driver.

A.The notifying person should immediately notify the building administrator/designee principal or other designated agent of the suspected abuse or neglect. The person may notify the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) directly, or if appropriate, the District Attorney (DA).

B.The building administrator/designee principal or other designated agent should immediately directly report it to DHHS and, if appropriate, to the DA.

C.The building administrator/designee principal or other designated agent should send a written confirmation containing the name of the person reporting, the date and time of the report and a summary of the information to the notifying person.

D.The notifying person should acknowledge in writing that he/she has received the confirmation that the report has been made by the building administrator/designee principal or other designated agent.

E. The confirmation and acknowledgement should be retained in the school’s records.

F. If the notifying person has not received written confirmation within 24 hours of making his/her report to the building administrator/designee principal or other designated agent has caused a report to be made to DHHS and, if appropriate, the DA, the notifying person shall immediately make a report to DHHS and, if appropriate, the DA.

Cross Reference: JLF – Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

JLF-E – Suspected Child Abuse Neglect Report Form

Adopted: November 12, 2015

Revised:

RECOMMENDATION

Motion __________ to table for a second reading Policy JLF-R – Reporting Child

Abuse and Neglect Administrative Procedure. Second ________. Vote __________.

Student Vote _____.


JLFA – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response

The School Committee adopts this policy in the interest of promoting the well-being of students and providing a supportive learning environment as well as compliance with the law.

For the purpose of this policy, “child sexual abuse” means any sexual engagement either through “hand on” or “hands off” activities between an adult and a child. Sexual engagement between children can also be sexual abuse when there is a significant age difference between the children involved or if the children are very different in development, size, or other power differential.

I. REPORTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

A. Any employee of the Yarmouth School Department who has reason to suspect that a child has been sexually abused is to immediately notify the building principal, assistant principal, or superintendent of schools.

1. In addition to notifying the building principal, assistant principal, or superintendent of schools, the employee may also make a report directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

2. School volunteers who have reason to suspect that a child has been sexually abused may report their suspicions directly to DHHS.

3. Neither the employee or volunteer nor the building principal, assistant principal, or superintendent of schools should attempt to further question or interview the child nor otherwise undertake an investigation.

B. If the reporting employee or volunteer does not receive written confirmation from the building principal, assistant principal or superintendent within 24 hours of his/her report that a report has been made to DHHS, the employee or volunteer shall make an immediate report directly to DHHS. In such cases, the employee or volunteer shall then complete a copy of the school unit’s Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Form (JLF-E).

C. If the reporting employee or volunteer does receive written confirmation from the building principal, assistant principal or superintendent within 24 hours of his/her report (i.e., a copy of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Form (JLF-E)), he/she shall sign the form as acknowledgement that the report was made and return it to the building principal, assistant principal or superintendent.

D. The administrator reporting and confirmation duties shall be the same as provided in Section III of Yarmouth School Department policy JLF, Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.

II. CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION EDUCATION FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL

All school personnel shall be required to complete a minimum of one hour of training in child sexual abuse awareness and prevention, with training to be updated at least once every four years thereafter. New employees must complete training within six months of hire.

Training must be “evidence-informed” (i.e., based on research and best practices) and delivered by a qualified instructor (i.e. a person with appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience or training in child sexual abuse awareness and prevention). The trainer may be an employee or volunteer with an agency/organization specializing in sexual assault and/or child sexual abuse or an employee of the Yarmouth School Department (e.g., school social worker, guidance counselor, school nurse, health educator) who has received appropriate training from such an agency/organization.

The goals of the training for school personnel are:

Increased awareness of developmentally appropriate and inappropriate sexual behaviors in children;

Increased ability to recognize indicators of child sexual abuse;

Enhanced ability to respond effectively when a student or student’s friend or peer discloses sexual activity or the staff member suspects child sexual abuse has occurred; and

Awareness of local resources available to students, parents, schools, and community members, and how these resources may be accessed.

Training should also address confidentiality/disclosure concerns (beyond the mandated reporting).

III. CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION EDUCATION IN THE PRE-K THROUGH 5TH GRADE CURRICULUM

The Yarmouth School Department will provide child sexual abuse prevention programming to its Kindergarten through grade 5 students. Such instruction will be aligned with the health education standards of Maine’s system of Learning Results for this grade span, and incorporated into the written school health education curriculum.

Programming of appropriate scope and sequence will be delivered by qualified instructors, who may be from a local or regional agency/organization with experience and expertise in sexual assault and child sexual abuse or by a Yarmouth School Department employee deemed competent by the superintendent/designee to deliver such instruction. If the instructor is a School Department employee, the School Committee anticipates that this will be a person with the knowledge, skills, sensitivity and “comfort level” necessary to deliver the curriculum in the classroom setting, i.e., school nurse, school social worker, guidance counselor, or teacher with experience in health education. Any instructor who is a school employee is expected to take full advantage of the evidence-informed educational resources available on websites hosted by the Maine Department of Education and other organizations specializing in this area. Any instructor who is a school employee should be familiar with the local community-based agencies/organizations that provide assistance or services to children and families that are experiencing or have experienced sexual assault or child sexual abuse.

It is the intent that the curriculum, as delivered in the classroom, will:

Include age-appropriate education regarding physical and personal boundaries; including biologically accurate body terminology;

Help children identify unsafe or uncomfortable situations including a range of feelings, touches, or violations of physical boundaries;

Help children identify safe adults with whom they can talk about unsafe or uncomfortable situations; and

Help children identify and develop skills to support a friend who may be experiencing safe or uncomfortable situations.

Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA §§ 254(18), 4502(5-C)

22 MRSA §4011-A

20-A MRSA §§ 5051-A(1)(C); 5051-A(2)(C)

20 USC § 1232g, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Cross Reference: JLF – Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

JLF-E – Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Report Form

Adopted: