Attention: Teachers, counselors, coaches - anyone working with kids
Vancouver, Washington (February 1, 2007) If you witnessed maltreatment of children or teens, mild or severe, it is your moral and legal obligation to report it - for the sake of the children. There is protection for those who report child abuse and neglect.
Staff who have worked or who currently work in a residential facility or program for children or teens, including Residential Treatment Centers - Wilderness Programs - Mental Health Facilities - Boot Camps - Therapeutic Boarding Schools - Specialty Schools - Christian Programs for Children and Teens - or any other facility or program for kids - are mandated (required) by law to report what they witnessed.
It has been reported that staff members working in some of these facilities and programs have been asked to sign an Employment Agreement stating they cannot talk about what goes on in the facility and that if they break confidentiality they will be sued for large amounts of money. This is simply a scare tactic that, according to government officials and legal professionals, will not hold up in court.
The law is on your side. Because you are a mandated reporter you cannot be sued for doing what you are legally obligated to do Ė report to the proper authorities. Click on the link below for more detailed information about protection for staff and for the reporting agencies in your state.
Kids are coming forward to report they were abused and/or neglected in these facilities or programs. These children and teens need help from the adults (staff) who worked with them and who know they are telling the truth.
Staff who witnessed child abuse and/or neglect need to come forward and report it. Those who donít because they are scared are usually haunted by what they saw. They feel guilty for not reporting and not helping the kids. Itís not too late if that happened to you. Itís not too late to come forward and do the right thing Ė for those children, future children, and for yourself.
Staff working in abusive programs have reported they began believing what was happening was OK because they were told by people in authority that it was OK or that it was policy and because they need their job. I would ask you to listen to your own inner voice, and if you have a nagging feeling that it isnít or wasnít OK, then do something to protect the children or teens. They are helpless and need you to be their voice.
If youíre not sure what you saw was abuse or neglect, ask yourself if you would want to be treated the way the children were treated, or if you would want your brother, sister, or your own child treated that way. If the answer is no, and you saw things happen to kids that you think are abuse and/or neglect, then it is your duty to report it. For a detailed list of what we believe should be reported, see the link below.
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- Contact Information
- Isabelle Zehnder
- Founder and President
- Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA)
- Contact via E-mail
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