Date Approved: October 11 2011
Date Reviewed/Amended: June 14 2016
I Rationale and Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to support a comprehensive, coordinated and collaborative approach for responding to child abuse and neglect by:
a) providing child abuse prevention programs to students;
b) providing school officials, employees and other persons working in schools with training in recognizing signs of child abuse and neglect;
c) providing school officials, employees and other persons working in schools with direction and training on their legal obligation to report child abuse and neglect to a Child Welfare Worker under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, to the RCMP where the child is in immediate danger, and to school officials;
d) requiring school officials to investigate and/or report to the RCMP allegations of child abuse involving current and former Board employees, volunteers, or contract service providers;
e) establishing a child abuse/neglect reporting and investigation protocol with other responsible agencies, to identify the roles and responsibilities of school officials and personnel from other agencies in responding to allegations of child abuse or neglect;
f) providing assistance to victims of child abuse and neglect by counselling and referrals to other agencies, as appropriate.
II Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse can take physical, sexual, or emotional forms, or may take the form of parental neglect. The descriptions of physical abuse, emotional abuse, emotional harm, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and neglect contained in the BC Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect for Service Providers (2007) (pages 23-26) (or later editions) should be applied for purposes of this policy.
III Reporting and Investigation
The Board acknowledges that responses to reports of child abuse and neglect may involve Board of Education personnel, child welfare and law enforcement agencies.
The Board supports a coordinated and collaborative response to reports of child abuse and neglect between:
The Board supports the development of an interagency child abuse/neglect protocol agreement that sets out roles and responsibilities for reporting and investigating child abuse/neglect issues and is consistent with Board procedures for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
All school officials and employees must understand and respect their legal obligation to report child abuse and neglect to a child welfare worker where they have reason to believe that a child is in need of protection within the meaning of the Child, Family and Community Service Act. They also need to comply with their reporting obligations as identified in Board procedures for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
School officials must also understand their role in coordinating with responsible agencies and in investigating allegations of child abuse against school employees, in accordance with Board procedures for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect and the interagency child abuse/neglect protocol agreement.
IV Respecting the Rights of Accused Individuals
The Board acknowledges that individuals under investigation regarding allegations of child abuse or neglect may have contractual or other legal rights during the investigative process. Board investigations will be conducted in a manner that is respectful of these rights.
V Training and Educational Programs
The Board requires that school officials, employees, volunteers and contract service providers receive training on how to recognize signs of child abuse or neglect, how to respond to reports of child abuse or neglect, and standards of conduct for employees, volunteers and service providers governing their interactions with students.
The Superintendent or designate will ensure that appropriate opportunities to receive and/or review training are made available, on an annual basis, to school officials, employees, volunteers and contract service providers.
The Superintendent or designate will ensure that child abuse prevention programs are provided to students in accordance with the Ministry of Education’s prescribed learning outcomes.
Related Policies and Regulations:
1310-10 Child Protection / Child Neglect and Abuse Regulation