Decision Making Factors in Child Caregiver Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

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This study investigated decision making factors used by child caregivers to identify suspected child abuse and neglect and collected data on caregiver training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. Data was collected in July 1999 in fourteen north Texas childcare programs. One hundred twenty three teaching and administrative staff completed a survey based on Jacobson, A., Glass, J. and Ruggiere, P. (1998). Five teachers and five administrators chosen for convenience were read eleven vignettes describing possibly abusive situations to decide whether they were reportable or non-reportable, and to indicate factors used to make their decisions. ... continued below

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Hagen, Carol Kellerman May 2000.

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  • Hagen, Carol Kellerman

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Description

This study investigated decision making factors used by child caregivers to identify suspected child abuse and neglect and collected data on caregiver training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect.

Data was collected in July 1999 in fourteen north Texas childcare programs. One hundred twenty three teaching and administrative staff completed a survey based on Jacobson, A., Glass, J. and Ruggiere, P. (1998). Five teachers and five administrators chosen for convenience were read eleven vignettes describing possibly abusive situations to decide whether they were reportable or non-reportable, and to indicate factors used to make their decisions.

Administrators (50%) and teachers (13.3%) reported being unfamiliar with child abuse and neglect definitions and reporting laws. Two thirds (66.7%) of the administrators and 39.8% of the teachers had received specific training in recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect. Administrators were more likely than teachers to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Teachers often reported to program administrators rather than state designated authorities. All subjects relied on information about children, but administrators also used information about parents, with teachers more likely to make excuses for parental actions. With 110 reporting opportunities, training was cited as a factor only twice by administrators. No teachers made reports to anyone other than program administrators, a factor named deference in this study. Four of five administrators expected deference from teachers when reporting decisions were made.

Present training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect is inadequate. Caregivers need additional training in differences between accidental and intentional injuries, detection of child sexual abuse and emotional neglect, recognition and assessment of injuries among infants and toddlers, and mandated reporting procedures. Further research on optimal training for accurate reporting of suspected abuse and neglect is needed. A mandate to report to authorities outside the child care center should be clarified in state law. Licensing individuals as well as programs would strengthen reporting by caregivers.

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  • May 2000

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  • Sept. 24, 2007, 10:19 p.m.

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  • April 26, 2016, 5 p.m.

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Hagen, Carol Kellerman. Decision Making Factors in Child Caregiver Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect, dissertation, May 2000; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2527/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .