The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defines child abuse and neglect as:
“Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation”; or
“An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
Abuse is commonly broken down into four components:
The concepts of abuse and neglect oftentimes appear together; however, they are subtly different in meanings:
Abuse is any act of a parent or caregiver that results in serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, exploitation, or even death.
Neglect refers to parents' or guardians' failure to provide for not only an infant's or child's basic needs, but also supervision ensuring the child's health, safety, and well-being from harm.
While both forms negatively affect children, abuse is almost always intentional and purposeful, while neglect can also be unintentional, depending on the parent and the situation.
As a mandated reporter, your duty to report suspicion of child abuse or neglect is an extremely serious one. The majority of states have laws in place to penalize any failure to report child abuse by a mandated reporter. By not doing your duty, you could be putting yourself at risk of a steep fine, time in prison, or further consequences.
Want to learn more about child abuse and neglect and how to make a report? Visit H&H Child Care Training Center and register for one of the following training courses.