Child Abuse - Mandatory Reporting

OCPRD Policy

In compliance with House Bill 1176 and to ensure the ongoing safety of our youth sport participants, the following protocols will be effective July 1, 2012:

  • Any park staff or volunteer is required by law to report any suspected child abuse.
  • Persons that report suspected child abuse to not have to be 100% certain any maltreatment has occurred.
  • The authorities will investigate and confirm whether or not any abuse has occurred.
  • Any person required to report a suspected case of child abuse who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor.

Duty to Report

  • For a volunteer, making a report means that they must notify a staff person with Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department any suspicion, accusation or disclosure of abuse.
  • Any OCPRD staff must immediately notify the suspected abuse to her/his full-time direct supervisor, who then shall immediately inform the Deputy Director and/or Director.
  • OCPRD Deputy Director or Director will serve as the designated reporter to ensure accurate report is sent in a timely manner, but in no case later than 24 hours.
  • The designated reporter will ensure a report is sent to the proper authorities by telephone, email or otherwise and followed by a report in writing, if requested.

Immediately Contact Proper Authorities

  • If the child is in imminent danger, local law enforcement agency should be contacted to report the suspected abuse.
  • Otherwise, suspected cases of child abuse should be reported to Child Protective Services at 1-855-GA CHILD (1-855-422-4453) and can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • All calls are anonymous and confidential.

Provide Information Regarding Report

Be prepared to provide the following information to investigating authorities regarding the report:

  • The name of the child
  • The age of the child
  • The name and address of the child’s parent or guardian or other person having custody
  • A description of the child’s condition, including any available information concerning current or previous injuries, abuse, or maltreatment
  • The nature and possible extent of the child’s injuries, abuse, or maltreatment
  • Any other pertinent information that you believe may be relevant with respect to the child and/or to the identity of the alleged perpetrator

Cooperate with Investigating Authorities

  • OCPRD staff shall cooperate fully with law enforcement and child protective services throughout the investigation of the alleged child abuse.
  • In-person response times range from within 24 hours to 5 days depending on the nature and severity of the allegation, the age of the child, and history of the family with the agency, if any.
  • The main concern throughout the assessment is the safety of the child.

Rights of Mandatory Reporters

  • Immunity - Mandated reporters who report in “good faith” are protected by law, even if the report is not substantiated.
  • Anonymity or confidentiality (when possible) - All reports are confidential; however, it is most helpful to the child if the reporter provides his or her contact information. It is also impossible to prove that you fulfilled the mandate to report if you do so anonymously.
  • Knowledge that a report was made - Mandated reporters who provide their name at the time of filing the child maltreatment report may request information from DFCS on the outcome of a report.

What To Do If a Child Discloses

  • Provide a safe environment
  • LISTEN openly and calmly
  • Be supportive and nonjudgmental
  • Keep your own emotions and nonverbal cues neutral
  • Reassure the child that it is not his/her fault and that you believe him/her
  • Assure the child that it is your responsibility to protect her/him
  • Document the child’s exact quotes
  • Report the disclosure to OCPRD staff

What Not To Do If a Child Discloses

  • Investigate
  • Ask leading questions
  • Make promises
  • Notify the parents or the caretaker
  • Discuss the abuse with anyone other than OCPRD staff supervisor or investigating authority

Only Ask 4 Questions - IF ANY

  • What happened?
  • Who did this to you?
  • Where were you when this happened?
  • When did this happen?

Mandated Reporters: Critical Links In Protecting Children in Georgia

Every professional working with children is an important part of Georgia's plan to eliminate the abuse and neglect of children. This course is designed to help Georgia mandated reporters recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect, their legal obligations related to reporting suspected abuse and neglect and how to make a report. This course has been reviewed and approved by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services and Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Visit the Prosolutions training website.

Mandatory Reporting Training - OCPRD Coaches/Volunteers

  • Coaches/Volunteers are required by law to report any suspected child abuse per O.C.G.A. 19-7-5.
  • Volunteer coaches and other youth program volunteers are strongly encouraged to complete the Mandated Reporters: Critical Links in Protecting Children in Georgia training.