In 2010 I performed my school counseling internship at an urban school and had to report suspected child abuse several times a month. My experience prompted me to research child maltreatment laws in the USA. McLeod &Nelson,(2011), stated that child abuse is considered a major issue and public awareness is on the rise since 1960s. It influenced the passing of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1974. (McLeod &Nelson,2011)Passing of CAPTA by the Congress was a significant event in addressing child abuse, because it provided the minimum standards for each state to follow when identifying and responding to suspicion of child abuse. (Henderson,2013). In addition, CAPTA secured federal funding for the states for prevention, identification, and addressing child maltreatment. In 20 years, each state received between $20-$30 million in federal grants. (Henderson,2013)
Child abuse legislature and guidelines for counseling professionals as ...view middle of the document...
Many states do not require notifying the supervisor first, although all require informing them when it occurs. Also, each State varies in stipulating repercussions, professional and criminal, for failure to report child abuse.( U.S. Department of Health and Human Service,2011). Another legal implication of mandated reporting is possible litigation. Henderson cited Remley and Fry 1993, who identified the possibility of mandated reporters having to participate in court hearings, formal depositions etc. (Henderson,2013)
There are several ethical issues that arise from legislature on mandatory reporting. The main issue is breaking confidentiality. Mental Health professionals should notify the client of that possibly. (American Counseling Association,2005 ).Common to most states, the professionals are protected by law from prosecution for breaking confidentiality when in suspicion of child abuse. (Henderson,2013). Other ethical issues include concern for child safety after the report, in which case the professional should inform the authorities and concern for the relationship with the client, which can be discussed with supervisor and colleagues. (Henderson,2013).
In conclusion, CAPTA raised public awareness in government involvement in child protection, provided legal, as well as ethical guidelines for each state to adhere to mandatory report regulations, and initiated federal funding for states to improve their child protective procedures.
American Counseling Association. (2005). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved fromhttp://www.counseling.org/Resources/CodeOfEthicsArP/Honie/CT2.a5px
An Incremental Approach to Fully Funding the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. MCLEOD, BRANDEN; NELSON, RUBY. Social Policy. Fall2013, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p11-14. 4p
Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse: Considerations and Guidelines for Mental Health Counselors. Henderson, Kathryn L. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Oct2013, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p296-309
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,
Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau. (2011). Child maltreatment
2010. Retrieved from http://www.acf hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can