Mandated Reporter Survey Seeks to Improve Practices to Keep More Families Together
The Center for the Study of Social Policy has launched a survey for anyone who is required by law to report suspected or observed child abuse or neglect.
Potential survey takers can work in an array of fields, from teaching and early childhood education to social work and nursing. The effort also hopes to engage a very specific group: individuals working with young parents who have experienced foster care.
The anonymous survey, developed by the Center’s Youth Power, Parent Power initiative, is designed to help inform the work of mandated reporters. It runs from Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to Monday, June 5, 2023.
Data from the survey will inform a tool kit that helps mandated reporters prioritize supporting families by encouraging young parents to ask for help and connecting them to adequate support services and aid. Youth Power, Parent Power also hopes to learn more about how teachers, nurses and others view their role as mandated reporters and what challenges and reporting process are involved in this work. To learn more about the survey, contact Fatima Kane, a program analyst with the initiative.
An Emphasis on Young Parents and Families
The Youth Power, Parent Power initiative — which evolved from the Brighter Futures young parent work funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation — focuses on better addressing the needs of young families and keeping more of them together.
“Being a parent poses particular challenges, and these challenges are especially true for expectant and parenting youth in care who have to deal with the added layer of having their every move judged and scrutinized,” says Lisa Mishraky-Javier, a senior associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
A 2014 study looked at the experiences of children to young parents in foster care. The study found that, of the nearly 2,500 children involved, 39% were the subject of at least one child protective services investigation, and 11% were placed in foster care before their 5th birthday (compared to just 4% of children to young parents in the general population).
The mandated reporter process, while intended to help protect children from abuse and neglect, isn’t perfect. Of the nearly 4 million reports received annually by child protective agencies, only 16% lead to a finding of abuse or neglect, says Tim Decker, a senior associate at the Casey Foundation. Certain families also are more likely to be investigated — including families of color, those with limited economic means and young parents.