Child Neglect

redPhoneAs Mighty Nurses, we are all Mandatory Reporters when it comes to child abuse or neglect.

But how many of you have ever actually made the call?

As an ED nurse, I probably have more opportunity than other nurses to find and report child abuse, and elder abuse and neglect for that matter.

I wanted to encourage all of you Mighty Nurses to keep an eye out.

If you can’t prove there is abuse going on, but you got a funny feeling about it and the story just doesn’t match the injuries, you should make the call.

It is better to be safe than sorry

The person you talk to is a professional, and will determine if it needs to be investigated further or not.

If it is investigated, it may be found that there is no abuse going on, but at least you fulfilled your role in the process.

Just think about all of the children that are hurt or killed by their own family members, because nobody made the effort to call.

It doesn’t even have to be your patient for you to be required to call.

If there is a visitor in your patient’s room who is smacking his/her kid around, or the child has injuries that make you question abuse, you are still required to call.

“It saddens me that I see so much abuse that I’m on a first name basis with the person behind the phone at CPS.”

Some people hesitate to call, because they think if they are wrong they will get in trouble, or the child will automatically be taken away from his parents until the investigation is over.

This just isn’t the case.  The law protects you, as long as you are reporting in good faith what you believe to be a potential problem.

Yes, if you lie about a case to deliberately get someone into trouble, then that will get you into trouble too, but otherwise, the law protects you.

Also, the child is not removed from his family until the professionals determine that removal is in the child’s best interest.

It saddens me that I see so much abuse that I’m on a first name basis with the person behind the phone at CPS.

I’m sure some of my calls have ended up being nothing but a waste of time for everyone involved, but I know for a fact that some of my calls have been taken very seriously.

I wish there was a way to get more feedback about what happens after a call, but that just isn’t something I “need to know” so I just have to have faith that the system is working to protect the children.

Find out about your state’s laws regarding mandatory reporting of child and elder abuse and neglect, and do your part to protect those people that cannot protect themselves.

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