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April 2002Vol. 3, No. 3Role of Teachers in Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

What is expected of teachers in regard to reporting suspected child abuse and neglect? It's a common question with complex answers. A recent article on the Child Welfare League of America website offers some insight.

The article, When Should Teachers Report Abuse? (, provides educators with definitions of child abuse and neglect, along with examples and guidelines for reporting.

Written by Nancy Duncan, MSW, a California child abuse investigator, the article outlines what key information a reporter should have when reporting suspected abuse or neglect. This includes the child's full name, date of birth, home address and telephone number, details of the suspected abuse, and information about the alleged perpetrator.

Duncan also warns against asking leading questions or inserting information, as this may taint the investigation. Finally, she outlines what reporters can expect from the resulting investigation—for themselves, the child, and the family.