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Reporting to CFS
It is the legal and moral obligation of all adults to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect or disclosure to the Child and Family Services Office as soon as possible.
The staff member with the concern or who was the contact point for a camper’s disclosure should make the report to CFS WITH the support of the Director or other Senior Staff. Camps should outline in policy and procedure the method in which to make a CFS report and ensuring reporting within their own organization is completed.
The camp staff will also complete an incident report within their own organization and ensure the information is channeled to the appropriate people. Camps may wish to channel all reporting of disclosure or suspicion of abuse through the Director or other senior staff person, but it is not adequate that this be the only channel of reporting.
The situation may occur where it may be the senior staff person who is the one suspected of perpetrating the abuse, or staff do not feel safe reporting to that person, or do not feel that appropriate follow up has been provided. In case of these situations, when developing reporting guidelines, camps should include:
A primary point of contact for the staff member with concerns about a child (i.e. Director).
A secondary point of reporting within the camp (i.e. Program Manager, President etc.) in case there is concern the director is involved with the abuse.
Phone number for staff to report directly to the appropriate agency where they are either not satisfied with the actions taken by the camp reporting officers or do not feel safe reporting through the standard processes.
Once a report has been made to the relevant agency, camp policy should provide that all relevant staff should provide all cooperation and support to the agencies investigation and follow all instructions given by the agency.
Camps should note that agency staff are trained to help identify genuine cases, and would therefore be better to contact the agency to assess the appropriateness of reporting rather than attempting to make such assessments themselves.
All people who have been involved in the disclosure or suspicion and reporting should make notes of the situation. It is important to use I statement and report the facts.
When documenting the event, stay clear of feelings and assumptions. Staff should be encouraged to be as detailed as possible, and should note the child’s full name, date, time and location. All actions taken should be documented as completed.
The key principle of confidentiality is protecting the best interests of the other person. Reporting full details of child abuse to the Camp Director and/or the relevant agency is appropriate reporting. It is not appropriate to tell other counselors, friends, children or any other people as this is not in the best interest of the child. Even telling with good intentions (i.e. as a prayer point) is considered a breach of confidentiality.
If you think a child is being harmed or neglected call the CFS office at