Reporting Child Abuse

Every child care provider knows she/he is obligated, by law, to report suspected child abuse. But did you also know you can be charged for not reporting if you knew about the abuse and a child is injured or killed? You can.

On Monday, Oct. 30th, 2005, a Plymouth Michigan Day Care Director was charged for ignoring the signs of suspected abuse that might have prevented the untimely death of 2-year-old Allison Newman in September. Newman's foster mother, Carol Poole was charged with murder after the little girl suffered serious injuries at their Canton home.

Two former center employees say they raised concerns about suspicions of abuse to their supervisor, but the abuse was not reported to the state as is required by law.

State officials say they received no reports from the center, leading Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to file charges against the director.

"It’s all the more tragic when there was suspected abuse and it was not handled properly," the Wayne County Prosecutor said.

Childtime day care where the director works, claims they investigated the situation but found nothing to substantiate the claims of abuse.

The state of Michigan has shut down the day care. A judge will make a recommendationwithin 30 days whether Childtime’s license should continue to be suspended, be revoked, or given back. It is up to the state after that to decide the direction they will take with the center.

Sadly Prosecutor Worthy said that the center's employees had not been properly trained to report abuse.

Wha't Your Policy?

When was the last time you reviewed your child abuse policy? How well do your employees understand your facility's procedure for reporting suspected cases of child abuse? When was the last time you held a training session for your employees or invited a guest speaker from your local child protection agency in to discuss abuse and neglect with your staff? If you can't answer that question definitively, now is a good time to do so. A child's life may depend on it.