This policy is adopted by the Library Board of Trustees ("Library Board") to affirm the Library Board's understanding that Easttown Library & Information Center ("Library") employees are obliged to assist in identifying suspected child abuse and to establish procedures for reporting such in compliance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (Title 23 Pa. C.S. Chapter 63).
(23 Pa. C.S. § 6303(b)):
"Child Abuse" shall mean any of the following:
(i) Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious physical injuries to a child under 18 years of age.
(ii) Any act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
(iii) Any recent act, failure to act, or series of such acts or failures to act by a perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
(iv) Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or the failure to provide the essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a child's life or development or impairs the child's functioning.
No child shall be deemed to be physically or mentally abused based on injuries that result solely from environmental factors that are beyond the control of the parent or person responsible for the child's welfare, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing, and medical care.
Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse
All Library employees shall report or cause a report to be made when during the course of their duties they have reasonable cause to suspect, on the basis of their training and experience, that a child is an abused child. Reasonable cause may be established by direct observation or report from a third party.
The library confidentiality policy does not apply in situations of suspected child abuse.
Generally, any person who, in good faith, reports or causes a report to be made and cooperates with agency investigations and proceedings, shall have immunity from civil and criminal liability related to those actions, as provided by law (23 Pa. C.S. § 6318). A person required to report suspected child abuse is presumed to have acted in good faith.
A person required to report a case of suspected child abuse who willfully fails to do so may be subject to criminal prosecution. (23 Pa. C.S. § 6319)
Mandated Reporting Procedures
Employees who have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse shall immediately notify the Library Director or Person In Charge (hereinafter "the administrator"). Upon notification, the administrator shall assume the responsibility and have the legal obligation to report the suspected child abuse. The administrator may not make an independent determination of whether to report.
Oral reports of suspected child abuse shall immediately be made by the administrator by telephone to ChildLine (1-800-932-0313). A courtesy call to Chester County Department of Children, Youth and Families ("CYF") is recommended (610-344-5800). The administrator shall notify the employee within 24 hours when the report was made to ChildLine. An administrator's failure to report does not relieve the employee or staff member of their responsibility to report.
Within 48 hours of reporting to ChildLine, the administrator who made the report shall complete Form CY-47, Report of Suspected Child Abuse, and send it to CYF.
Library employees shall cooperate with the Department of Public Welfare or CYF investigation of a report of suspected child abuse, including permitting authorized child welfare or law enforcement personnel to interview the child while the child is in the Library.
Library Documentation Procedures
Information regarding a mandated report by a Library employee is confidential except in certain instances specified by law. All communication and records of such reports will be treated as confidential. Records kept to document background information or that provide a timeline of the report will be maintained in a secured file cabinet by the administrator. Only one copy of any record will be maintained by the Library.
When a report is made to ChildLine, the employee who observed or received the information of suspected child abuse and the administrator who made the report shall jointly complete the Library's Mandated Report of Suspected Child Abuse Form. A copy of Form CY-47, Report of Suspected Child Abuse, referenced above, should be attached to the Library's form.
All Library employees and volunteers shall receive initial and periodic training regarding the requirements of this policy. The Director shall oversee and implement appropriate training.
Employment Background Checks
The Library policy on Employment Background Checks covers the requirements for criminal and child abuse background checks in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
(23 Pa. C.S. § 6313) (23 Pa. C.S. §§ 6311, 6312)
Adopted 6/17/2008; Revised 11/17/2010