September 18, 2009

Mandated Reporters

Yesterday, I took The Boy to his psychiatrist's office for a scheduled appointment. Our last appointment was early in August; we had lots to talk about (so we used more than our 15-minute allotment).

As The Boy and I were recounting the events that led up to his arrest, I mentioned the mark that he had around the front of his neck - I saw it when I got my 20-minute visit to him at detention (when I dropped off his medications at the detention center). The Boy said he got the mark when one of the teachers at his school was holding the neckline of his t-shirt while she was physically restraining him. The detention center attendant said that they took pictures of the mark when they brought him in (I'm sure they wanted to document that THEY didn't cause him to be hurt).

The doctor was stunned that The Boy had been arrested and placed in detention. Apparently, that is not a common occurrence with her patients who have been diagnosed with similar mental health issues.

She said that she is a mandatory reporter, and that she was going to call DFS (
The state's Children's Division Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Unit) to report the mark on his neck.

Here's what I got from the Department of Social Services Web site:

Reports are received through a toll-free telephone line which is answered seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Members of certain occupational groups, such as teachers, social workers, and physicians, are mandated by law to make reports to the Hotline. Any person may report, and anonymous reports are accepted from individuals who are not mandated by occupation to report. Effective August 28, 2004, Missouri law requires Mandated Reporters to identify themselves when making a report.

The school did NOT report it; the detention center did NOT report it - and I didn't either. Am I a bad mom because I overlooked this? I had no idea that I should have called. I've never been involved with DFS, so I'm claiming ignorance.

I received a call from DFS not long after we returned from the appointment. The worker who called said that she would call the school this morning - and she did. School districts have two options in this regard: they may do an internal investigation, or they may request DFS to do the investigation into the allegations. Our school district decided to do an internal investigation - they will forward their findings to DFS.

I am fearful that the school district will determine that The Boy is no longer a fit for their program, and that he will have to attend another program (maybe one that is not close by, requiring him to be admitted to a residential program).

My hope is that the school will offer additional training to their staff so that no other children get bruises or any injuries when they need to be restrained.

I hate conflict - I want The Boy to continue to attend his current school. The doctor also has requested that I set up an emergency IEP meeting at the school to change his educational designation from Other Health Impaired (OHI) to Emotionally Disturbed (ED). This change in designation may prevent a future arrest during an outburst, because the behavior is due to his diagnoses.

I just have a feeling that all of this will backfire, and The Boy will have to leave a teacher and a program he truly likes (and has had some success in).

4 comments:

  1. I wouldn't have thought to report it either. You seem like an awesome mother.

    I hope things turn around for you soon.

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  2. My thoughts are with you. I wouldn't have known to call either, but it's a shame the school overlooked it. I hope he gets to stay where he is doing well!

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  3. Definitely change the IEP. Also, change of placement can not be done without one.

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  4. I dont understand how that would be beneficial to your son to remove him from the program. Im sure stability is essential for him and his diagnosis. I hope they make the right decision!

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