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Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Policy

Purpose

Columbia College prioritizes safety and strives to provide a safe learning environment for everyone. Children come into contact with Columbia College through various programs, camps and events. This policy outlines Columbia College’s (College) policy regarding mandated reporting of suspected incidences of child abuse and neglect. This policy is in place to make the College community aware of one’s mandatory duty to report possible incidences of child abuse and neglect as well as the expectation to cooperate with the agencies responsible for reporting, investigating and prosecuting the cases of child abuse and neglect.

Scope

This policy applies to the entire College community including but not limited to faculty, staff, students, volunteers and contractors.

Policy

Missouri law requires that certain persons who have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subject to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect immediately make a report to the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services (Child Abuse and Neglect website). Individuals subject to this reporting obligation include, but are not limited to: Certain professionals engaged in the examination, care, treatment or research of persons; health care workers; mental health professionals; social workers; child–care providers; teachers, principal or other school official; minister; law enforcement officials; or any other person with responsibility for the care of children. For a complete list of persons subject to this reporting obligation see Mo. Rev. Stat. §210.115.1.

The toll free number for the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Unit is 1–800–392–3738. For hearing and speech impaired, please contact Relay Missouri 1-800-735-2466/voice or 1-800-735-2966/text phone.

Under Missouri law, any person making a report to the Department of Social Services in good faith shall have immunity from any civil or criminal liability for making the report.  Any person who knowingly makes a false report or who makes a report in bad faith or with ill intent shall not have immunity. Mo. Rev. Stat. §210.135.1.

In addition to mandatory reporters specified by Missouri law, any other person who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect may make such a report to the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Any person reporting an instance or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect to the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services should also report the incident to his or her immediate supervisor at the College.

The College will not tolerate retaliation against persons who report suspected child abuse or neglect. Any such retaliation, or encouragement of another to retaliate, is a serious violation of College policy, independent of whether the particular report is substantiated, and could result in discipline, up to and including termination. If you believe you have been subjected to retaliation in violation of this rule, you should contact the Director of Human Resources.

Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect must be made in good faith and not out of malice or ill-will. Knowingly making a false or fictitious allegation of child abuse or neglect is a Class A Misdemeanor under Missouri law. Additionally, a false or fictitious allegation of child abuse or neglect will be treated as a serious offense by the College and may result in discipline, up to and including termination. If you believe you have been the subject of such a report, you should contact the Director of Human Resources.

For individuals at one of the Nationwide locations, please visit the appropriate link below for information on state law regarding mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect.

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