Provost outlines child abuse and neglect reporting obligations

Dec. 12, 2012

Here is a message from Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr.:

On Dec. 19, 2011, Governor Walker signed Executive Order 54 (EO 54), requiring UW-Madison employees (along with employees of all other UW-System campuses) to immediately report child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services (CPS) or law enforcement if, in the course of employment, the employee observes an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, or learns of an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, and the employee has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur. 

This duty to report child abuse or neglect is a new obligation for most UW-Madison employees.  Only a fraction of UW-Madison employees were mandatory reporters pursuant to preexisting Wis. Stats. § 48.981(2) (“Chapter 48”), which applies to healthcare workers, law enforcement, teachers (not including professors or staff in higher education), social workers, and the like.

Thousands of minors come onto the UW-Madison campus every year in a variety of ways: starting college prior to their 18th birthday, attending preschool, living in family housing, participating in summer camps, and attending sporting events. In addition, UW-Madison employees come into contact with minors off campus through research and outreach activities. 

Given the frequency with which UW-Madison employees come into contact with minors during the scope of their employment, it is important that employees be informed of their obligation under EO 54.  Although EO 54 technically applies only to UW-Madison employees (along with employees of all other UW-System campuses), in order to provide the greatest level of protection to minors in UW-Madison sponsored programs, UW-Madison volunteers who interact with minors should also be educated about these issues.
 
How to report child abuse or neglect
Contact your county social/human services department, sheriff, local police department, or university police department immediately – by telephone or in person. Language interpretation services are available through the UW-Madison Police Department, the Madison Police Department, and Dane County Child Protective Services.
 
Emergency phone number: 911
           
Non-emergency phone numbers:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department: 608-264-COPS or 608-264-2677;
  • Madison Police Department: 608-266-4275;
  • Dane County Child Protective Services: 608-261-KIDS or 608-261-5437;
  • Wisconsin Telecommunications Relay Systems (WTRS): Dial 7-1-1 from any phone in Wisconsin.

Additional campus reporting expectations
If the incident or threat of child abuse or neglect involves an allegation against a University employee or agent (e.g., student, volunteer, etc.) or the suspected child abuse or neglect occurred on the UW-Madison campus or during a UW-Madison sponsored activity – in addition to notifying Child Protective Services or law enforcement – the reporter should also notify one of the following entities:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department: 608-264-COPS or 608-264-2677 (if not notified previously);
  • Office for Equity and Diversity: 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1 (language interpretation services are available).

A variety of educational materials have been developed to educate UW-Madison employees about their reporting obligations:
 
Brochure: An electronic copy of the brochure that has been developed is available online at http://www.oed.wisc.edu/childabuse/.  This brochure provides an explanation of EO 54, definitions and signs of child abuse and neglect, and information on how to make a report.  Cultural Linguistic Services is currently working to translate this brochure into Chinese, Hmong, Spanish, and Tibetan.  These translated brochures will be posted online at http://www.oed.wisc.edu/childabuse/ as soon as they are ready.  If you would like to request hard copies of this brochure in English, Chinese, Hmong, Spanish, and/or Tibetan, please contact Kathryn (Kate) O’Connor in the Office of Equity and Diversity at 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1 or koconnor@cdo.wisc.edu.  Language interpretation services are available through the Office of Equity and Diversity.
 
Poster: A multilingual poster has been developed which will soon include content in English, Chinese, Hmong, Spanish, and Tibetan.  Once the translation is complete, the poster will also be available online at www.oed.wisc.edu/childabuse/.  This poster reminds employees and volunteers of the need to report suspected child abuse or neglect and lists phone numbers to call in order to make a report.  If you would like to request hard copies of this poster to display in high traffic areas, please contact Kathryn (Kate) O’Connor in the Office of Equity and Diversity at 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1 or koconnor@cdo.wisc.edu.  Language interpretation services are available through the Office of Equity and Diversity.
 
Online training: A mandated reporter online training has been created (in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families and the UW-Madison Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System, Division of Continuing Studies, and Academic Technology) to educate mandatory reporters of their duty to report and to provide focused education about recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect.  This online training is especially well suited for employees who interact with minors during the scope of their employment.  A link to this online training can be found at http://www.oed.wisc.edu/childabuse/.
 
Face-to-face group training: For those groups of employees who require more extensive training or would like an opportunity to ask important legal questions, face-to-face group training sessions are available.  Please contact Kathryn (Kate) O’Connor in the Office of Equity and Diversity at 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1 or koconnor@cdo.wisc.edu to schedule a face-to-face group training session.  Language interpretation services are available through the Office for Equity and Diversity.
 
Campus safety website: Child abuse and neglect is one of several serious situations for members of the UW-Madison community.  Please visit the campus safety website (www.safeu.wisc.edu) for additional information on safety, security, emergency preparedness, and other serious situations.  A link to the campus safety website can be found on the UW-Madison homepage, in the lower left-hand corner.
 
If you have questions about your duty to report, contact the UW-Madison Office for Equity and Diversity at 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1.  Language interpretation services are available through the Office for Equity and Diversity.