Changes in child abuse reporting positive steps

A new Indiana law changes how school employees statewide handle instances of suspected child abuse or neglect. Now they are required to report suspicions directly to the Department of Child Services or local law enforcement.

Previously, school employees had to first notify a school administrator such as the principal or the principal’s designee.

The law is intended to speed up the investigation of suspected abuse or neglect, eliminating potential delays in reporting. School districts are prohibited from creating any policies that would impose restrictions or delays in reporting, according to the law.

Schools also are required to provide age-appropriate child abuse education to children in kindergarten through Grade 12, to help them better understand and recognize situations and circumstances that constitute abuse or neglect.

We support these changes.

Child abuse or neglect is serious, and suspected abuse or neglect needs to be handled quickly because it is in the best interests of the children to investigate potentially harmful or unhealthy situations and remove children from them if proven true.

The change puts initial and primary investigatory responsibility in the hands of trained experts.

The welfare of children is of the utmost importance. The changes in the law take steps forward in ensuring that.

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