The Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5991 during the 2012 session requiring higher education employees to report to authorities suspected child abuse or neglect. The legislation, codified at RCW 26.44.030 and RCW 28B.10.846, was signed into law and became effective June 7, 2012. This policy is intended to satisfy the College’s obligation to notify employees of their reporting obligations under this state law and insure that all staff immediately report suspected child abuse and neglect at the first opportunity as set forth below.
This policy fulfills the 2012 legislative mandate by providing a universal reporting requirement for all college faculty, staff, students and volunteers.
All college faculty, staff, students and volunteers.
Mandatory Reporters: The following employees, including student employees, are designated as “mandatory reporters” under RCW 26.44.030 for purposes of reporting suspected child abuse and neglect:
- Administrative, Academic, or Athletic Department Employees
- Campus Child Care Center Employees
- TESC Police Services Law Enforcement Officers
- Registered or Licensed Nurses, Social Service Counselors, Medical Practitioners, and Psychologists
Any employee who is a “mandatory reporter,” and who has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect, shall make an immediate oral report of such incident, or cause a report to be made, to the Police or the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services at the first opportunity, but in no case more than 48 hours after there is reasonable cause to believe that the child has suffered abuse or neglect. This report may be made by phone, or in person, to DSHS or law enforcement at the phone numbers or addresses listed below:
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Child Protective Services Hotline : Call 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4267), Washington State’s toll-free, 24 hour, 7 day-a-week hotline will connect you directly to the appropriate local office to report suspected child abuse or neglect. (TTY Callers call 1-800-624-6186)
- TESC Police Services : Call (360) 867-6832 (business line), (360) 867-6140 (emergency), or 911. A person can make a report in person at Police Services at Seminar Building, Room 2150. The office is open 24 hours/7 days per week.
- Police : 911(calls made to 911 outside the area of the College will be routed to local law enforcement responding to such calls).
If requested by DSHS or law enforcement, the employee must file a written report of the suspected abuse or neglect after making an oral report. As required by RCW 26.44.040, all reports must contain the following information, if known: the name, address, and age of the child; the name and address of the child’s parents, stepparents, guardians, or other persons having custody of the child; the nature and extent of the alleged injury or injuries; the nature and extent of the alleged neglect; the nature and extent of the alleged sexual abuse; any evidence of previous injuries, including their nature and extent; and any other information that may be helpful in establishing the cause of the child’s death, injury, or injuries and the identity of the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators.
RCW 26.44.080 provides that an employee who is a “mandatory reporter” and who knowingly fails to make, or cause to be made, a report of suspected child abuse and neglect shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a maximum term of up to three hundred sixty—four days, or by a fine in an amount of not more than five thousand dollars, or by both such imprisonment or fine.
Other Employees : All other employees who are not considered “mandatory reporters” as identified above and who have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect, must immediately report such incident to the college’s Chief of Police by phone at (360) 867-6832 (business line), (360) 867-6140 (emergency), or 911 (if on campus); or in person at Police Services, Seminar Building, Room 2150, 24 hours/7 days per week.
A “child” is defined in RCW 26.44.020 (2) as “any person under the age of eighteen years of age.”
The term “abuse or neglect” is defined in subsection (2) of this statute as follows:
’Abuse or neglect’ means sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or injury of a child by any person under circumstances which cause harm to the child’s health, welfare, or safety . . . or the negligent treatment or maltreatment of child by a person responsible for or providing care to the child.
The term “negligent treatment or maltreatment” is defined in subsection (14) of RCW 26.44.020 as follows:
‘Negligent treatment or maltreatment’ means an act or a failure to act, or the cumulative effects of a pattern of conduct, behavior, or inaction, that evidences a serious disregard of consequences of such magnitude as to constitute a clear and present danger to a child’s health, welfare, or safety, including but not limited to conduct prohibited under RCW 9A.42.100. When considering whether a clear and pres-ent danger exists, evidence of a parent’s substance abuse as a contributing factor to negligent treatment or maltreatment shall be given great weight. The fact that siblings share a bedroom is not, in and of itself, negligent treatment or maltreatment. Poverty, homelessness, or exposure to domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010 that is perpetrated against someone other than the child does not constitute negligent treatment or maltreatment in and of itself. (RCW 26.44.020).
Protecting the Abused & Neglected Child, A Guide for Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect , Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Publication 22-163 (Rev.8/12),http:/www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/publications/22-163.pdf
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children’s Division, “What is Child Abuse and Neglect?” http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/safety/abusewhat.asp?2
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Child Welfare Information Gateway (Child Abuse & Neglect/Responding to Child Abuse & Neglect),http://www.childwelfare.gov/
RCW 26.44.020; RCW 26.44.030; RCW 26.44.040; and RCW 28B.10.846.