As an experienced White Plains County Employment Attorney, I consistently receive questions about protecting oneself for reporting suspected child abuse. People may not know that in New York, pursuant to the New York social services law certain employees are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect. Among those mandated reporters are nurses, doctors, teachers, certain other school employees, social workers and the like.
The law requires that if these individuals suspect child abuse or neglect they have to take certain steps to report that. Over the years what we have experienced, especially in the area of teachers that school districts put out their own rules as to what teachers should do, if the teacher suspects a neglect or abuse. For many years, many districts required the teacher to report up the chain to the administration in the district rather than calling the state mandated lines to make the reporting, but that was never the law.
Those teachers were required to report it whether the district agreed with it or not and we have had teachers and nurses make reports and have come under fire from their district administration. Recently, the New York state social services law has been amended to give some protection to those individuals for making the report that they were supposed to make in pursuant to the law. The protection is not all that they would like but there is some form of protection for making that report, and we are able to counsel employees who find themselves in that situation.
If you have questions about protections for reporting suspected child abuse, contact our experienced White Plains Employment Attorney, Jane Gould.