Mandated Reporter Survey Seeks to Improve Practices to Keep More Families Together

Posted May 23, 2023
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
A black woman wearing medical scrubs smiles next to two young girls of color who are playing at a table.

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 52023.

Take the Sur­vey Now

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.

Go to the survey

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