By law, every childcare staff member is a mandated reporter, and must file a report when they believe a child is being abused or neglected.
Massachusetts law requires mandated reporters to immediately make an oral or written report to DCF when, in their professional capacity, they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 years is suffering from abuse or neglect. A mandated reporter may also notify local law enforcement or the Office of the Child Advocate of any suspected abuse and/or neglect.
Each staff member is responsible for reporting any suspected abuse or neglect, including abuse by another staff member. You should report any physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse; any indication of neglect, including malnutrition; any instance in which a child is determined to be physically dependent upon an addictive drug at birth; or death as a result of abuse and/or neglect. Any mandated reporter who fails to make required oral and written reports can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000.
First Circle’s complete Abuse and Neglect Policy is detailed in the Appendix. Under the law, mandated reporters are protected from liability in any civil or criminal action and from any discriminatory or retaliatory actions by an employer.
If a staff member has a concern about a child or fellow educator, the first step is to report the concerns immediately to the director or, in their absence, any First Circle administrator, with as much detail as possible. Staff must follow the requirements and process outlined in this policy with no exception. We provide regular training to all staff on recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect. For new staff, this is covered in the orientation.