REPORTING CHILD ABUSE IN NEW JERSEY (in conformity with 18A:36-24 and 9:6-8) Teacher candidates should check with his/her clinical educator or school principal to learn the reporting procedures of the school district to which he/she is assigned. Every district should have a written policy on dealing with child abuse/neglect. This is required by law; be sure to get a copy. New Jersey law states: that any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or acts of child abuse shall report this information immediately to the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). DYFS staff are available to receive referrals at the local district office from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and at the Office of Child Abuse Control (OCAC) at any hour (1-800-792-8610). Calls received at OCAC during normal working hours are immediately referred to the appropriate district office. Teacher candidates or any person who reports suspected child abuse are immune from civil or criminal liability if you report suspected child abuse or neglect or testify in a child abuse hearing. You cannot be sued. (NJSA 9:6-8.13) Any person who fails to report suspected abuse or neglect is considered a disorderly person subject to a fine up to $500, up to six months in jail, or both. Failure to report also could result in a law suit if it is realized that a school employee had suspicion or knowledge of abuse or neglect and it was not reported. TYPES OF ABUSE: Physical Sexual Emotional Neglect Abandonment CLASSROOM SIGNS: Poor performance Disruptive behaviors Nervous habit Frequent complaints of pain Withdrawn/quiet behavior Tiredness Malnourished Abnormal absences Physical injuries Ill-clothed/dirty Lack of necessary medical attention When Reporting Suspected Abuse: Teachers and nurses do not have to substantiate their suspicions. They are only required to report them. All school employees are required by law to report suspected abuse/neglect directly to DYFS. Notify the building principal or a designee (per board policy). You may choose not to give your identity when reporting. DYFS tries to keep all reports confidential. DYFS can give the information to certain agencies, as directed by law. It is suggested that you do not press children about injuries. Do not contact the parents. When reporting: Give name and address of child and his/her parents/guardians. Give age and sex of the child. State the child’s condition indicating if the child is in immediate or imminent peril. Your district policy may require you to put your reports to your administrators in writing. Keep a copy to protect yourself.