Child Abuse Duty to Report

Effective date: September 30, 2011

Revised January 2018

Relevant Legislation:

Child and Family Service Act 1984 (amended 1999)

Intent:

Child abuse in any form is both intolerable and criminal. LOFT Community Services will do all it can to prevent abusive behaviour directed at a child, and to ensure that any such behaviour is reported in the appropriate manner.

Definitions:

Not applicable to this policy.

Policy:

The LOFT Community Services policy on the reporting of abuse of any client is inherent to the commitment it holds to all clients of the agency. This policy reflects not only those values, but also recognizes the CFSA requirements and procedures for reporting child abuse of any child in the care of LOFT Community Services.

The Child and Family Services Act 1984, amended in 1999, clearly defines the obligations of professionals who work with children with respect to reporting child abuse. As will be outlined, it is the responsibility of professional staff to report suspected child abuse directly to the appropriate Children’s Aid Society.

A “Child” is defined as being under the age of 16 years, or under the age of 18 years who is in the care of a Children’s Aid Society or under its supervision.

Although youth 16 years-of -age or over who are not ward of a Children’s Aid Society do not have the protection of the CFSA, these youth have access to the police and to legal representation through the Office of the Official Guardian and Justice for Children. LOFT Community Services is committed to obtaining the services of these resources for these children.

Consistent with legal requirements, no action, disciplinary or otherwise, will be taken against any staff member who reports suspected child abuse.

 

LEGISLATION – CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES ACT

The following is taken from the Child and Family Services Act:

 

Section 72 (1)

Despite the provisions of any other Act, if a person, including a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children, has reasonable grounds to suspect one of the following, the person shall forthwith report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to a society*: (* society refers to a Children’s Aid Society)

 

1. The child has suffered physical harm, inflicted by the person having charge of the child or caused by the person having charge of the child or caused by resulting from that person’s;

i) failure to adequately care for, provide for, supervise or protect the child.

ii) pattern of neglect in caring for, providing for, supervising or protecting the child.

 

2. There is risk that the child is likely to suffer physical h arm inflicted by the person having charge of the child or caused by or resulting from that person’s;

i) failure to adequately care for, provide for, supervise or protect the child.

ii) pattern of neglect in caring for, providing for, supervising or protecting the child

 

3. The child has been sexually molested or sexually exploited, by the person having charge of the child or by another person where the person having charge of the child knows or should know of the possibility of sexual molestation or sexual exploitation and fails to protect the child.

 

4. There is a risk that the child is likely to be sexually molested or sexually exploited as described in paragraph 3.

 

5. The child requires medical treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering and the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide, or refuses or unavailable or unable to consent to the treatment.

 

6. The child has suffered emotional harm, demonstrated by serious

i) anxiety

ii) depression

iii) withdrawal

iv) self-destructive or aggressive behaviour

v) delayed development

and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the emotional harm suffered by the child results from the actions, failure to act or pattern of neglect on the part of the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child.

 

7. The child has suffered emotional harm of the kind described in subparagraph i, ii, iii, iv, or v of paragraph 6 and the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide, or refuses or is unavailable or unable to consent to , services or treatment to remedy or alleviate the harm.

 

8. There is a risk that the child is likely to suffer emotional harm of the kind described in subparagraph i, ii, iii, iv or v of paragraph 6 resulting from the actions, failure to act or pattern of neglect on the part of the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child.

 

9. There is a risk that the child is likely to suffer emotional harm of the kind described in subparagraph i, ii, iii, iv, or v of paragraph 6 and that the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide, or refuses, or is unavailable or unable to consent to services or treatment to prevent the harm.

 

10. The child suffers from a mental, emotional or developmental condition that, if not re remedied, could seriously impair the parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide or refuses or is u unavailable or unable to consent to treatment to remedy or alleviate the condition.

11. The child has been abandoned, the child’s parent has died or is unavailable to exercise his or her custodial rights over the child and has not made adequate provision for the child’s care and custody, or the child is in a residential placement and the parent refuses or is unable or unwilling to resume the child’s care and custody.

 

12. The child is less than 12 years old and has killed or seriously injured another person, or caused serious damage to another person’s property, services or treatment are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide, or refuses or is unavailable or unable to consent to those services or treatment.

 

13. The child is less than 12 year old has had on more than one occasion injured another person, or caused loss or damage to another person’s property with the encouragement of the person having charge of the child , or because of that person’s failure or inability to supervise the child adequately.

 

ONGOING DUTY TO REPORT CFSA s. /72(2)

The duty to report is an ongoing obligation. If a person has made a previous report about a child and has additional reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, that person must make a further report to a Children’s Aid Society.

 

PERSON MUST REPORT DIRECTLY CFSA s. /72(3)

The person who has the reasonable rounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection must make the report directly to a Children’s Aid Society. The person must not rely on anyone else to report on his or her behalf.

 

SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF PROFESSIONALS AND OFFICIALS, AND THE PENALITY FOR FAILURE TO REPORT CFSA s.71 (4), (6)

Professional persons and officials have the same duty as any member of the public to report a suspicion that a child is in need of protection. The Act recognizes, however, that persons working closely with children have a special awareness of the signs of child abuse and neglect, and a particular responsibility to report their suspicions, and so makes it an offence to fail to report.

Any professional or official who fails to report a suspicion that a child is or may be in need of protection, where the information on which that suspicion is based was obtained in the course of his or her professional or official duties, is liable on conviction to fine of up to $1.000.00.

PROFESSIONALS AFFECTED CFSA s. 72(5)

Persons who perform professional or official duties with respect to children include the following:

• Health care professionals including physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists.

• Teachers and school principals.

• Social workers and family counselors

• Priests, rabbis and other members of the clergy

• Operators or employees of day nurseries

• Youth and recreation workers (not volunteers)

• Peace officers and coroners

• Solicitors

• Service providers and employees of service providers;

• Any other person who performs professional or official duties with respect to a child.

 

PROFESSIONAL CONFIDENTIALITY CFSA s.72 (7),(8)

The professional’s duty to report overrides the provisions of any other provincial statute, specifically those provisions that would otherwise prohibit disclosure by the professional or official.

That is, the professional must report that a child is or may be in need of protection even when the information is supposed to be confidential or privileged. (The only exception for “privileged” information is in the relationship between a solicitor and a client.)

 

PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY CFSA s.72 (7)

If a civil action is brought against a person who made a report, that person will be protected unless he or she acted maliciously or without reasonable grounds for his or her suspicion.

 

Procedures:

See program manual.