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CPS/Child Abuse Protocol

Posted

Do you have a set protocol at your school?

Background: Yesterday a counselor brought a 9th grade student to my office who had been attacked by her father the night before. police had been called, she filed a police report but apparently they left her with him because he drove her to school.

She had told a teacher, who brought her to the counselor, who then brought her to me to assess. She had no visible injuries. I asked the counselor who was reporting this to CPS (teacher, him, or me) - so that there weren't duplicate reports. He said he was going to let the grade-level principal know but I didn't have to do it, he would. He left with the student.

A few minutes later, grade level principal comes in, somewhat flustered, asking where student is. I say she left with counselor, and I think she was going back to class. He asked why she wasn't in my office anymore (because the counselor took her...) and why I didn't take photos of the injuries (there were no injuries to take photos of, plus I am uncomfortable taking photos of students on my personal cell phone). He later went to the medical director and said he was unsure the health office understood they were mandated reporters and we shouldn't have let the student leave. Medical director (who is an NP and also one of my best friends at work) discussed with me and she also clarified with him what happened after speaking to me. He was more calm and seemed to understand better.

Questions: Who calls in and fills out the CPS report in your school? It is my understanding duplicate reports don't need to be made (so the teacher, counselor, nurse, principal don't all need to call it in, just 1 of us).

What do you do with the student? Do you hold them in your office, another office? Call police?

We have a meeting on Monday to create procedures. Principal also asked for any "resources" we have that will assist in drawing up the plan.

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 10 years experience.

Wow. Well - I am not sure in the event of domestic violence whether the father should/would have been allowed to remain in the home. There's probably a piece I'm missing but in Texas, a call stating someone hit someone else means that the hitter usually has to leave the premises.

In my state the person to whom the outcry is made is the reporter, and that person has 48 business hours to do so. The teacher brought her to you so you would document anything you saw, but the outcry was to the teacher, so s/he should report.

Regarding taking pictures....we are very lucky to have a SRO who has a camera for that purpose. Be aware that if you take a picture of any part of a student on your personal phone that the phone may be admitted into evidence, and that would mean no phone for you. If the principal desires photo evidence, let them provide you the device.

Bottom line - what was your gut? The student left with a counselor. Why was that bad? Was there something that needed to be treated? If not...sometimes I will keep kids in the office, but usually the counselor will grab them while we figure out what happens next with CPS.

In a situation like this I would think it would be the counselors duty to make the report - the counselor was the first to become aware of the situation. while I would make a statement of the injuries - description of the wounds, bruises etc a part of the report - I would not take any pictures - it is not our duty to do the "evidence" taking part of it, that is a police job and the police should be contacted to file a report and document the injuries. The police can be the ones to take the pictures.

WineRN

Specializes in NCSN. Has 4 years experience.

You did everything the way I have in the past in these situations.

If there is no large physical harm, there is no reason for the student to remain with you. The student always has gone back to class when I have dealt with these situations.

At my school, only one person makes the report, we usually do the person who first found out about the abuse as the one who calls. I had one situation last year where I was called to be a part of the phone call after the teacher called it in because the operator wanted to hear the assessment directly from me. I'm also pretty sure the operator asks if a report has already been made as one of their first questions.

I had one request from DCFS to take pictures of an injury, which I wasn't comfortable with so the counselor did.

I don't really have any "resources" unfortunately.

In the past - Teachers have never seemed to report. They always call me or the counselor to "deal with it" basically after the student confides something in them.

The AP told the medical director she shouldn't have gone back to class because "what if she left our office, texted her dad that we were calling CPS, and he came to the school and signed her out and killed her." I also later found out that CPS, the police, and her dad were in the principals office... at what point they all got there I'm not sure, but I don't think they wanted her crossing paths with her dad.

1) she left with the counselor 2) she said the dad had told her when he dropped her off at school: have the school call CPS so that I am rid of you (how freaken sad) 3) the police had left her with the dad

They also brought her to my office a 2nd time to just wait, basically. She sat here for 40 minutes doing nothing (it was her lunch) and another AP went and got a lunch for her in the cafeteria, then brought her back to her office to eat it. Seemed weird to me

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

Wow. Well - I am not sure in the event of domestic violence whether the father should/would have been allowed to remain in the home. There's probably a piece I'm missing but in Texas, a call stating someone hit someone else means that the hitter usually has to leave the premises.

In my state the person to whom the outcry is made is the reporter, and that person has 48 business hours to do so. The teacher brought her to you so you would document anything you saw, but the outcry was to the teacher, so s/he should report.

Regarding taking pictures....we are very lucky to have a SRO who has a camera for that purpose. Be aware that if you take a picture of any part of a student on your personal phone that the phone may be admitted into evidence, and that would mean no phone for you. If the principal desires photo evidence, let them provide you the device.

Bottom line - what was your gut? The student left with a counselor. Why was that bad? Was there something that needed to be treated? If not...sometimes I will keep kids in the office, but usually the counselor will grab them while we figure out what happens next with CPS.

Perfect answer, and good point about the phone!

aprilmoss

Specializes in School Nurse. Has 20 years experience.

Either one of the school counselors or I make the report but we make sure all who interviewed the student are listed. We do get the SRO involved, too. I believe you were correct in declining to take the photos with your personal phone. Often these incidents end up either in my office or in the counselors office so which ever one of us has it tends to write the report. One of the APs is also involved by policy.

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics.

As Ruby_Jane mentioned above, in Texas, the only role the school nurse would have in this incident would be to document the report of injury by the student and assess if immediate medical attention would be necessary. Otherwise that's it. Initial outcry IS the mandated reporter.

OyWithThePoodles, RN

Specializes in Med-surg, school nursing.. Has 10 years experience.

I would make sure your school admin knows and puts into policy (even though they should know this) that if the teacher is the first to hear about it, they can come to you for an assessment, but THEY are the one mandated to report. I've had teachers come to me about student injuries and ask me to call CPS. I let them know if they are concerned, they need to call.

I would never take a picture with my phone, if for some off chance this picture contains a private area, dad could turn it around and press charges and you would be in possession of child pornography. And even if it isn't a private area, taking pictures with your own phone still feels wrong to me.

Why would she have needed to stay with you? I feel going to the counselor was probably best.

I can't figure out why the police left her with dad...That is what is most concerning to me.

I'm a former teacher. Teachers (and school administrators) are also mandated reporters (at least in my state). I've called CPS many a time. Technically, the teacher the student told should have called. However, the counselor, or you, or the principal all could have called.

Amethya

Specializes in Cardiology, School Nursing, General. Has 5 years experience.

I was told to do the reporting if I see the abuse, and also the teacher if she sees it too.

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I can't figure out why the police left her with dad...That is what is most concerning to me.

Because this is likely not true or information has been misrepresented or omitted in some way. It's all hearsay. I've said before unless you see it with your own eyes or hear it with you own ears, don't accept it as true.

Our policy (per CPS), is that the first one the student tells is the one who calls. The teachers think that by sending the student to me they get out of it. Nope, they still have to make the call. I will sit with them and walk them through it, but first person to know makes the call.

Edited to add, at our start of year nurse's meeting the subject of abuse came up. We were informed that we are NEVER to photograph an abusive injury to a student. We assess and document, but never photograph, that is for the police to do.

Edited by grammy1
Edited to add....

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 34 years experience.

We have a child advocacy agency in our city that handles every aspect of child abuse reporting. In the event that we suspect abuse, we simply call the agency and provide a safe place for the child to stay in the office until a representative arrives.

That person interviews the student, documents injuries, alerts law enforcement, prepares reports and instructs us on the next steps. We are truly blessed to have this expertise available to us. Children are protected, they never have to repeat their stories, or be examined by multiple people, evidence is preserved and there is never any question who is responsible for reporting, or how to go about doing it.

Cattz, ADN

Specializes in School Nurse. Having conversations with littles.. Has 34 years experience.

Either one of the school counselors or I make the report but we make sure all who interviewed the student are listed. We do get the SRO involved, too. I believe you were correct in declining to take the photos with your personal phone. Often these incidents end up either in my office or in the counselors office so which ever one of us has it tends to write the report. One of the APs is also involved by policy.

I never, never, ever will take a picture on my personal phone. But, sometimes, I will get a picture sent to me from a school that I am not at that day. I hate it when they do it. First of all, I don't want pics of any student's body part on my phone...ever. Second of all, I am holding on to my old "dumphone" for dear life (because I detest smartphones...which I really refer to as "stupidphones") and I can't see the little tiny picture on it anyway! I delete them, but I have always wondered if I could get in trouble for even that. They don't ever send any pic that is "personal" in any way..but still....CMON NOW! (woops-wrong thread?!) rant over.

Cattz, ADN

Specializes in School Nurse. Having conversations with littles.. Has 34 years experience.

Missouri changed our law a few years ago. And. I. Am. So. Glad. The person that the kid made the disclosure to is the one the is responsible to make the Hotline call. It does not negate their responsibility by passing them along to me, the counselor, principal, etc. I will help them, but they do it. In my "talk" at the beginning of the year with them. I explained to them that the counselor, nurse, or principal are no more responsible to make the call than the teacher is (if they get the first-hand information). I made up a form and gave it to them. It has helped them A LOT to have all the information down before picking up the phone. I have attached it, in case it may help anyone.

HOTLINE REPORT FORM.docx

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

I never, never, ever will take a picture on my personal phone. But, sometimes, I will get a picture sent to me from a school that I am not at that day. I hate it when they do it. First of all, I don't want pics of any student's body part on my phone...ever. Second of all, I am holding on to my old "dumphone" for dear life (because I detest smartphones...which I really refer to as "stupidphones") and I can't see the little tiny picture on it anyway! I delete them, but I have always wondered if I could get in trouble for even that. They don't ever send any pic that is "personal" in any way..but still....CMON NOW! (woops-wrong thread?!) rant over.

I'm holding out for iPhone 8.

I drank the Kool Aid

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I'm holding out for iPhone 8.

I drank the Kool Aid

Me too...I was anti Iphone until Sweet Petunia bought me one for my birthday 2 years and now I wouldn't have anything else.:nailbiting: