Series III -Teachers Responsibilities in the Identification and Reporting of Abuse and Neglect


As special education teachers and mandated reporters you are faced with an extraordinary responsibility in making sure that all the children you come into contact with on a daily basis are not being mistreated, abused or neglected. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that in 1999, 58.4 percent of all child maltreatment victims were found to have been neglected (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). In other words, of the 826,000 maltreated children in the United States in 1999, 482,000 were neglected. Although the rate of neglect has decreased from 7.7 per 1,000 children in 1995 to 6.5 per 1,000 children in 1999, neglect remains the most common form of maltreatment.

But these numbers only include the children who have been reported to Child Protective Service (CPS) agencies and whose cases were substantiated.1 A study conducted in 1993 found that almost two million children were endangered by neglect in the United States (Sedlack & Broadhurst, 1996). Clearly, the problem of neglect is pervasive. This Classroom Series will provide you with all the information necessary in identifying, understanding, reporting, and possibly preventing a child from being abused or neglected. While it is only your responsibility as a mandated reporter to “suspect” abuse or neglect and report it according to the laws of your state, the picture of abuse and neglect is larger than just the identification and reporting of such serious situations.

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