Child Protection is a very important issue in Extension. Please review the following guidelines closely.
COLORADO CHILD ABUSE LAW–1989 CRS 19-10-101
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
Colorado law requires certain professional personnel to report child abuse. Extension personnel are not specifically included, but it is an organizational expectation that CE personnel will report any suspected child abuse encountered during the working hours of one’s job.
Child abuse may be: physical, emotional, or sexual, with the physical abuse being the most easily identified.
Definition of Abuse
“Abuse” or “child abuse or neglect” means an act or omission in one of the following categories which threatens the health or welfare of a child:
a) Any case in which a child is subjected to sexual assault or molestation, sexual exploitation, or prostitution;
b) Any case in which a child is a child in need of services because the child’s parents, legal guardians, or custodians fail to take the same actions to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision that a prudent parent would take.
When suspected child abuse or neglect is present, Extension personnel should, as a personal obligation and organizational expectation, report this to their county department of human/social services. In cases of extreme abuse needing immediate attention, a local law enforcement agency should be notified. The department of human/social services personnel will investigate the facts, tell the family a report is being filed, and check the child’s condition. A local child protection team will review the case and decide on the most appropriate course of action.
A written report shall, by law, only be prepared if so requested by the receiving agency (either the Department of Human Services or local law enforcement office).
For more information refer to the Youth Protection Guidelines found in the Colorado 4-H Youth Development Handbook.
CHILD PROTECTION GUIDELINES
Staff Relationships with Children
1. In order to protect individuals, salaried and volunteer staff are encouraged to avoid, when possible, being alone with a single child.
2. Extension salaried and volunteer staff shall not develop intimate relationships with individual program participants under the age of 18.
3. Extension staff and volunteers will not, under any circumstances, discipline children by use of physical punishment or by failing to provide the necessities of care, such as food or shelter.
4. Salaried and volunteer staff should be alert to the physical and emotional state of all children each time they report for an educational program. Any signs of injury relating to suspected child abuse should be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Responsibilities to Parents
1. In hiring salaried staff and screening volunteers for Extension child care and camping programs, administrators will invite parents to serve on interview committees.
2. Parents will be informed about their child’s program participation and are encouraged to participate.
3. Parents will be invited and encouraged to visit Extension educational programs at any time.
4. Extension will offer information and assistance to parents and children through workshops, counseling, and use of printed and audiovisual resources on child abuse. Resources will be thoroughly reviewed prior to use.
For more information refer to the Extension Youth Development Handbook.
(From the Colorado State University Extension
For more information please contact:
133 Aylesworth Hall NW
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523