The Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children has created an online training module - iLook Out for Child Abuse - to help early child care professionals meet new state laws regarding training and reporting of suspected child abuse. The regulations under Act 31 of 2014 take effect on December 31.
"This free resource is currently the only approved online learning module specifically designed for Pennsylvania's early child care professionals," said Dr. Benjamin Levi, director of the Center for the Protection of Children. "iLook Out for Child Abuse provides evidence-based training to help them learn about these new requirements, especially as they pertain to reporting incidents of suspected child abuse." Levi notes this is particularly important for Pennsylvania, where the reporting rate of 9.8 cases of abuse per 1,000 children is significantly lower than the national average of 45.8 reports per 1,000.
iLook Out for Child Abuse's interactive video format provides the legally required three hours of training, and is designed to help early child care providers better understand and fulfill their new legal responsibilities. This includes learning how to report; what it means to have "reasonable cause to suspect;" warning signs of child abuse; as well as the legal consequences of failing to report. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be provided with a certificate proving that they are in compliance with the new regulations.
If an early child care provider suspects a child is being abused, he or she must immediately call ChildLine (1-800-932-0313), followed within 48 hours by a written report; or report online via the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' new web-based portal. Failure to report suspected child abuse may result in fines of up to $15,000 and either misdemeanor or felony charges.
"iLook Out for Child Abuse has been shown in a research study to increase knowledge and change attitudes about reporting abuse in Pennsylvania," Levi added. "It's our hope to eventually make this online training program available to early child care professionals across the country."
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center