Report finds gaps in Colorado mandatory reporting laws – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-09-16 22:27:58 –

Denver — A report published by the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman highlights some serious gaps in the mandatory reporting system for people suspected of child abuse or neglect.

The seven-page report found that there was a lack of legal clarity regarding mandatory reporting, lack of training for professionals, and overall confusion about how reporting works. ..

The report refers to the case of 7-year-old Olivia Gantt. For years, Olivia’s mother, Kelly Turner, took her one after another to a hospital appointment, claiming she had a terminal illness.

Olivia has been honored by the Make a Wish Campaign, law enforcement agencies and sports teams. In 2017 she was transferred to hospice and later died.

A year later, Turner took Olivia’s sister to the clinic for a complaint about bone pain. Doctors reportedly found Turner lying about her eldest daughter, who had previously suffered from cancer, and reported her mother to authorities.

She was later arrested for Olivia’s death and charged with murder. Waiting for trial..

“I think all hospital doctors and staff should be held accountable. Someone should be able to be held accountable. In a June 30 interview with KOAA in Colorado Springs, Olivia’s grandfather. Ronnie Groutrow, who is, said:

The family sued Colorado Children’s Hospital for $ 25 million for failing to submit a report to the state, claiming that many doctors were skeptical of knowing something was wrong. The proceedings have recently been settled.

However, in June, the family called for a change in the hospital’s mandatory reporting policy.

“The policy towards me violates the law. They have stopped those who are required by law to report social welfare abuse, and many have raised abuse and it has not gone anywhere. That’s why we need to change that policy, “Grautreau said.

Colorado Mandatory Reporting Act

Colorado has been required to report on books since 1963. This is the first state in Colorado. Since then, the law has been amended 31 times and now includes 40 different groups of experts who need to report abuse or neglect to the state.

The idea behind the law is that it is the adult’s responsibility to speak on behalf of the child, as the child does not have the maturity, resources, emotional ability, etc. to report the abuse himself.

Reporting professions include police officers, health care workers, school staff, social workers, priests, and therapists.

Not reporting allegations of abuse or neglect is a Class 3 misdemeanor, and Colorado law provides legal and employment protection to those who report in good faith.

However, there is no state-wide obligation to require mandatory reporters to be trained in what signs to watch out for and how to report them, and there is no requirement for ongoing education.

Stephanie Villafuerte, Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman, said:

Some mandatory reporting professions, such as teachers and law enforcement agencies, have their own policies regarding the training required. The state also offers a free online duty reporting course that anyone can take.

Colorado also lacks a state-wide notification system that notifies new mandatory reporters of their responsibilities. As such, Villafuerte says some people may be unaware of their obligations.

As a result, the ombudsman office has received countless calls over the years from reporters who do not know what to do if they suspect abuse or neglect.

“Many reporters confuse the role of reporters as fact-discoverers. In fact, they are not asking people to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred. After reporting, the authorities Let’s do the work, “said Villafuerte. ..

According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Colorado Human Services Department (CDHS), many of these experts were unable to identify the steps needed to report a suspicious case and were confused about who to report to. I did.

Much of the reporting confusion results from the organization’s reporting, or the decision to file a case with a professional talent expert in the profession or bring it directly to the state.

“One of the things we want to do is make it clear that if a facility or large facility can form its own policy, we will have a guardrail around it,” said Villafuerte. increase.

While some other states have clear restrictions on how they report with agencies that have their own rules, Villafuerte states that Colorado’s law is completely lacking.

She also wants to ensure that institutions do not withhold information or neglect to report due to potential damage to the agency’s reputation from cases of abuse or neglect.

“Historically, Colorado has had, for example, a principal who deliberately withheld that information from the authorities,” Villafuerte said. “We want to make sure that employers are helping them, rather than discouraging staff reports.”

The report also found that it needed to be clearer about how someone needed to report allegations of abuse or neglect.

While many other states have strict time limits when they need to report, Colorado is ambiguous and open to interpretation.

Senator Rhonda Fields, D-Arapaho, has been working on mandatory reporting for years. Most recently, she was able to extend the statute of limitations for a period when someone had to report negligence or abuse.

She has already reviewed the report to see if more legislation is needed in the future to address some of the concerns raised.

“I am grateful for the recommendations it makes, providing mandatory reporting and the opportunity to be clearer and clearer about what we need to do to keep our children safe. That’s what Fields said.

She supports additional training for mandatory reporters and says she doesn’t believe in the reporting hierarchy. Instead, she wants the expert of concern to feel comfortable going directly to the authorities.

“The law, albeit in good faith, has been poorly enforced for years. I hope Colorado will report allegations of child abuse to its citizens and neglect it competently and responsibly. If so, we need to provide obligatory reporters with the tools to do so, “the report concludes.

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