A new bill could have an impact on your company's supervisors and HR employees effective Jan. 1, 2021.
California's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law requires that certain "mandated reporters" make formal reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
Up until now, mandated reporters have typically worked in occupations that put them in close or consistent contact with children, like teachers, daycare workers, and medical professionals.
The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law has been updated several times since its inception in 1980, and the most recent update will extend the definition of mandated reporters even further, reaching industries such as food service, entertainment, construction, trades, manufacturing, and more.
California's bill has implications for the rest of the nation, and employers in other states should take note. CA sets the gold standard for mandated reporting training and bills to protect children against abuse and neglect, and where CA goes, many states are sure to follow.
According to the new legislation, the following individuals will be considered mandated reporters effective Jan. 1, 2021:
Human Resources Employees
A human resources employee, as defined, is anyone designated by an employer to accept complaints of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, etc., made under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.
AB 1963 has designated human resources employees as mandated reporters, provided their place of employment:
AB 1963 also identifies frontline supervisors as mandated reporters of sexual abuse if these supervisors:
Note: These supervisors are not required to be mandated reporters for all types of defined child abuse, only suspected sexual abuse of minors.
How to Prepare Your Business for AB 1963
If your business has five or more employees and hires minors, here's what you need to know to be compliant with AB 1963.
Properly identifying and reporting suspected child abuse is a complicated and sensitive matter with serious outcomes for all involved. Failing to report can lead to fines and jail time for mandated reporters, not to mention increase the likelihood of injury or even death for a child at risk.
Create Your Own Training Program
Adding a mandated reporter training component to your organization's safety and training program is one way to ensure your HR employees and supervisors are ready to take on their new roles as mandated reporters.
Your training program should include information on both identifying and reporting suspected child abuse (including sexual abuse) or neglect.
You can create your own training program with courseware or an LMS (learning management system) from mandatedreportertraining.com.
Utilize the CDSS Training Program
The CA Department of Social Services (CDSS) offers an online mandated reporter training program at mandatedreporterca.com. Completion of the general training will meet the requirements for mandated reporter training.
Don't let the added training requirements stop you from employing teens within your organization. Hiring youth has many benefits for your organization, the community, as well as the teens themselves.
"When teens choose to have a job, employment teaches responsibility and good work habits, improves time management and organizational skills, and helps them save money.
Working also gives teens an opportunity to establish contacts with adult employers that can serve as a future reference. As teens work a part-time job they learn how capable they are, which in turn builds confidence and self-reliance. This can help teens feel more independent and have the confidence to further their development with a sense of responsibility." - youthfirstinc.org
In industries like construction, where a lack of skilled workers is one of the biggest challenges businesses face, encouraging youth to learn the trades is worth the additional training required.
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