For Faculty, Staff, Coaches and Volunteers
Cornerstone Christian Academy is thankful for all faculty, staff, coaches and volunteers that pour into our students. You are playing an important role in our students’ lives. Volunteer training about reporting child abuse is required by the state of Georgia. Thank you for your participation in the following online training. Please read the material below which concludes with an electronic signature to certify that you have read and understand the material.
Who is a Mandated Reporter?
A Mandated Reporter is a person required to report known or suspected child abuse, neglect or exploitation under penalty of law for failure to report. This includes everyone who works with children, including volunteers. The purpose of this training is for school employees and volunteers to become familiar with indicators of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect of a minor.
What is the timeline for reporting?
Georgia law requires anyone who works or volunteers at a child-serving agency to report suspected child abuse or neglect within 24 hours (O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5).
How do I report suspected abuse?
The protocol followed at Cornerstone is to communicate immediately to the appropriate division principal. At that time, confidential written documentation will be requested. If a mandated reporter informs the designated reporter of suspected abuse or neglect, the mandated reporter is considered to have fulfilled their obligation under the law.
What happens if the suspected abuse is not reported?
Any person or official required by Georgia law to report suspected cases of child abuse who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a crime that is less serious than a felony but can still be punishable by fine or incarceration in a county jail. Mandated reporters who report in good faith are protected by the law, even if the report is not substantiated. All reports are confidential and the reporter may remain anonymous, if they choose to do so. DFCS (Division of Family and Child Services) is required to keep the reporter’s name confidential.
What are the categories of abuse?
Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian,or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs.
- lack of shelter
- unattended medical and/or dental needs
- consistent lack of supervision
- ingestion of cleaning fluids, medicines, etc.
- consistent hunger
- nutritional deficiencies
- inappropriate dress for weather conditions
- poor hygiene
- poor impulse control
- demands constant attention and affection
- lack of parental participation and interest
- misuse of alcohol/drugs
- regularly displays fatigue or listlessness, falls asleep in class
- steals food or begs for food from classmate(s)
- reports that no caregiver is at home
- frequently absent or tardy
- takes over adult caring role (of parent)
- lacks trust in others, unpredictable
Physical abuse is any non-accidental injury to a child. The law in Georgia permits corporal punishment however discipline should not include violence.
- has unexplained burns, bite marks, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes that are inconsistent with the explanation offered
- has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school
- seems frightened of parents and protests/cries when it is time to go home
- shrinks at the approach of adults
- reports injury by a parent or caregiver
- describes self as bad and deserving to be punished
- may flinch when touched unexpectedly
- extremely aggressive or withdrawn
- displays indiscriminate affection-seeking behavior
Emotional abuse is the ongoing maltreatment of a child.
- bedwetting and/or diarrhea
- frequent psychosomatic complaints- headaches, nausea, abdominal pains
- mental or emotional development lags
- behaviors inappropriate for age
- fear of failure, overly high standards, reluctance to play
- fears consequences of actions, often leading to lying
- excessive neatness and cleanliness
- extreme withdrawal or aggressiveness, mood swings
- overly compliant, too well-mannered
- poor peer relationships
- violence is subject for art or writing
Sexual abuse involves direct sexual contact with a child, but it is also abuse to expose a child, for a person to expose him/herself to a child, to show pornography to a child, etc.
- fatigue due to sleep disturbances
- sudden weight change
- cuts or sores made by the child
- difficulty in walking or sitting
- unusual or excessive itching in genital or anal areas
- inappropriate sexual play with toys, self, others
- inappropriate sexually explicit drawings and or descriptions
- dramatic behavioral changes, sudden non-participation in activities
- overall poor self-care
- fearful or startled response to touching
- need for constant companionship
- recurrent physical complaints without physiological basis
It is important to note that physical and sexual abuse include incidents, isolated or otherwise. Emotional abuse and neglect are about a pattern of behavior.
How do I respond if a child discloses abuse?
If a child discloses abuse, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Believe the child – a child rarely lies about abuse; denial is more common. Tell the child you believe him/her.
- Reassure the child that the abuse is not his/her fault – the child’s greatest fear is that he/she is responsible for the abuse.
- Do not interrogate the child – it can be traumatic to repeat his/her story numerous times.
- Stay calm – even if you feel surprised or upset; your calmness will reassure the child that he/she has done nothing wrong.
- Do not make promises you cannot keep.
- Write down the facts and words as stated by the child without your own assumptions or value judgments. Include descriptive words and note specifics about where, when and by whom if mentioned.
- Protect the child from further abuse by reporting it immediately to the appropriate principal. Action will be taken to ensure his/her physical and emotional well-being.
- Respect the child’s need for confidentiality; do not discuss the abuse with anyone other than those required by the school and the law.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this important training. If you suspect or become aware of abuse, immediately contact the appropriate principal. In the event that a principal is not available, please contact the Headmaster, Colin Creel.
Please complete the Acknowledgement of Understanding below to certify electronically that you have read this document and that you understand the signs of abuse and the reporting protocol.
If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate division principal at 770-441-9222.