Be the Reason: The Educator's Role in Combating Child Maltreatment

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Laws have evolved along with awareness of human rights, including the rights of minors, with increased protections for children and youth from harmful situations. Often children may not be able to put their experiences into words, or may not know they deserve safety and the fulfillment of basic human needs. Children may rely on adults outside the family to stand up for them. This is where educators and school personnel serve a vital role in our society: to watch over and shield our children and youth.

In this course, Sherry Williamson, Child Abuse Project Coordinator at the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence, shares personal stories and professional insights that compel Arkansas educators and school staff to move beyond the discomfort that comes with facing hard realities. This fully narrated and interactive training features scenarios drawn from real-life experiences. We glean first-hand insights from Arkansas leaders who work to combat crimes against children. Armed with awareness, knowledge, and a sense of higher purpose, Arkansas educators and school personnel can be resolved in their convictions to “be the reason” children, youth, and families survive and thrive.

This course meets the requirements of Act 1236 of 2011 for the 2021-22 school year.

Warning: Viewing of this version of the videos does not provide Professional Development credit. PD is only provided for Educators if the course is viewed through the ArkansasIDEAS LMS. Educators may Click here to log in to ArkansasIDEAS or to check eligibility for an account.

Lesson One

Welcome, Mandated Reporters

Segment 1 of 14

Sherry Williamson shares a real-life story from her experience that helps us consider the importance of the mandated reporter role in a larger context.

A Few Statistics and Law References

Segment 2 of 14

Our host and experts review some key statistics and language from the law including the phrase "reasonable cause to suspect." Mischa Martin, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services, elaborates on the mission of DCFS and outlines how Arkansas state agencies coordinate and respond to child maltreatment hotline calls.

More to Think About: ACEs

Segment 3 of 14

Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs), many of which are related to child abuse and neglect, may carry lifelong consequences, including chronic medical conditions. Mandated reporters play a role in prevention and intervention that may help individuals throughout their lives.

Lesson Two

Myths and Misunderstandings

Segment 4 of 14

Sherry Williamson debunks some common myths and clarifies misunderstandings associated with child maltreatment.

Risk Factors and Opportunities for Support

Segment 5 of 14

Sherry Williamson highlights factors that may increase caregivers' risk for causing harm to their children.

About Neglect

Segment 6 of 14

Our host and family welfare expert share some of the physical and behavioral indicators that may prompt us to suspect neglect, the most commonly reported type of child maltreatment.

About Physical Abuse

Segment 7 of 14

The physical and behavioral indicators of physical abuse are shared. When a child's behavior changes, adults need to look at what might be causing uncharacteristic behaviors.

About Sexual Abuse

Segment 8 of 14

Sherry Williamson points out that detection of sexual abuse in school-aged children through physical and behavioral indicators is rare.

Lesson Three

A Few Extra Minutes

Segment 9 of 14

After we watch the dramatized scenario, "A Few Extra Minutes," in which a child refuses to engage in free play in a classroom, Sherry comments on how the teacher effectively modeled a response.

When They Disclose

Segment 10 of 14

Sherry Willliamson clarifies how adults may effectively respond, using non-judgemental listening and conversation, when a child discloses neglect or abuse.

Be There

Segment 11 of 14

Sherry Williamson debriefs key points from the scenario shown in "Be There."

Lesson Four

Reporting Basics

Segment 12 of 14

In this conversation, top officials from Arkansas child protection agencies discuss several aspects of hotline reporting including basic requirements, tips for making reports, and consequences for failure to follow the mandated reporter laws.

Make the Call

Segment 13 of 14

In evaluating the teachers' responses to a student's change in behavior, as portrayed in the scenario, "Make the Call," Sherry Williamson underscores the need for discreet conversations when school personnel discuss students, in order to protect privacy and confidentiality.

One Family's Story

Segment 14 of 14

In the final segment of the course, Sherry Williamson concludes her story of one family's road to adoption through the foster care system, as shown in an animation.