Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Executive Directors and Program Directors of Child Development Programs:
Annual Mandated Reporter Training
I am writing to remind local educational agencies (LEAs) and licensed child day care facilities of their obligations to have staff complete Mandated Reporter Training. Per Assembly Bill 1432 and Education Code Section 44691, school districts, county offices of education (COEs), charter schools, state special schools, and California Department of Education (CDE) diagnostic centers must provide annual training to their employees in child abuse detection and mandated reporting obligations under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. This training will assist staff in recognizing child abuse or neglect and remind staff members to report any suspicion of abuse immediately to local law enforcement and Child Protective Services, as required by law. The mandatory obligation to report abuse or neglect is crystal clear and should be followed by all required school personnel, including child development programs operated under contract with the CDE or licensed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).
While all mandatory reporters employed by LEAs must complete training each year, I also recommend refresher training. With large staff turnover in the past five years statewide, we must capture the attention of all new employees and administer training as soon as possible after hiring per EC 44691(b). Districts that do not train their staff are required to report to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction why this training was not provided.
Additionally, staff of child day care facilities licensed by the CDSS must complete Mandated Reporter Training per Assembly Bill 1207, Health and Safety Code Section 1596.8662, and Penal Code Section 11165.7.
Effective January 1, 2018, child care licensee applicants as a condition of licensure and licensees, administrators, and employees must take mandated reporter training within 90 days of beginning employment and biennially thereafter.
I advocated for the funding to develop an updated, more effective online training in 2014 that has been used widely throughout the state. To date, over 200,000 school staff members have successfully completed the training modules for educators and received their certificates of completion using the online training program, which is available on the Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training California Web page at http://mandatedreporterca.com/training/childcare.htm. You will also find the introductory video on Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse that we produced in partnership with the CDSS on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WunricaVsLo. Additional resources regarding mandated reporting obligations are available on the CDE Child Abuse Prevention Web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/ap/.
I also want to remind schools of the obligation to have a comprehensive school safety plan in place which, by law, must address child abuse reporting procedures. Plans must be reviewed on an annual basis and submitted to the school district or COE for approval. Each school district or COE shall notify the CDE by October 15 of any schools that have not complied with the provisions of the School Safety Plans as set forth in Education Code Section 32281.
For early learning and care programs, the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Section 101174, requires that each licensed child care program develop a disaster and mass casualty plan. The CDE worked with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to develop the California Child Care Disaster Preparedness Plan, a Functional Annex to the State of California Emergency Plan. While the California Child Care Disaster Preparedness Plan outlines roles and responsibilities of key support agencies, it also provides valuable resources for child care providers to create disaster plans. The plan and related information can be found on the UCSF Web page at https://cchp.ucsf.edu/content/disaster-preparedness.
As we all know, safety in our schools and child development programs must be paramount. Students and children cannot learn if they feel unsafe. A positive school and program climate is based on knowing that teachers, early educators, and other staff are constantly watching over our children at school and in their child development programs.
I invite your suggestions for how we can all take stronger steps to ensure the safety of our students and young children. If you have questions regarding this letter, please contact Nancy Zarenda, Education Policy Consultant, Coordinated School Health and Safety Office, by phone at 916-445-8441 or by e-mail at NZarenda@cde.ca.gov.