Issued under the authority of the Deputy Minister of Education
|Date of Issue:||August 10, 2001||Effective: Until revoked or modified|
|Subject:||REPORTING OF CHILDREN IN NEED OF PROTECTION|
|Application:||Directors of Education
Secretaries of School Authorities
Director of Provinical Schools
Principals of Elementary Schools
Principals of Secondary Schools
Principals of Provinical Schools
|Reference:||This memorandum replaces Policy/Program Memorandum N°. 9, "Child in Need of Protection/Child Abuse Reporting Requirements", December 15, 1986.|
Note: This memorandum reflects the latest version of the Child and Family Services Act (March 31, 2000).
Requirements for Reporting
The Child and Family Services Act contains provisions under Part III, Child Protection, for reporting a child who is or may be in need of protection. If any person including a teacher, a principal, or another professional has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, the act requires that the person report his or her suspicions "forthwith" to a children's aid society and provide the information on which the suspicions are based. Therefore, teachers, principals, and other professionals who, in the course of performing their professional or official duties, suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection must report this information without delay to a children's aid society. Details are given in subsection 72(1), which is quoted below in its entirety:
Subsection 72(3) of the act provides that every person who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection must make the report directly to a children's aid society, and must not rely on anyone else to report on his or her behalf.
In addition, subsection 72(2) states that the duty to report is an ongoing obligation. If a person has made a report about a child to a children's aid society and has additional reasonable grounds to suspect that the child is or may be in need of protection, that person must make a further report to the children's aid society.
These requirements do not prevent a school board from establishing additional policies on internal reporting procedures, but the board's policies must not conflict with the reporting requirements of the act.
Consequences of Failure to Report
Subsection 72(4) of the act makes it an offence for persons performing professional or official duties with respect to children to fail to report a child who, they suspect, is or may be in need of protection. Clause 72(5)(b) expressly identifies teachers and school principals as such persons. If a teacher or principal obtains information, in the course of performing his or her professional or official duties, that leads him or her to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, he or she must report this suspicion. If such a professional or official does not report the suspicion, he or she is liable, upon conviction for the offence, to a fine of up to $1000.
Protection for Persons Making Reports
The duty of a professional or official to make a report overrides the provisions of any other provincial statute that is, those provisions that would otherwise prohibit the professional or official from disclosing confidential or privileged information. In other words, a teacher or school principal must report that he or she suspects that a child is or may be in need of protection even if he or she believes that the information to be used to support the report is supposed to be confidential or privileged.
Subsection 72(7) provides that no action for making a report shall be instituted against a person who acts in accordance with the duty to report in section 72, unless the person acts maliciously or without reasonable grounds for the suspicion.
It is the responsibility of the children's aid society and, if necessary, the police to conduct an investigation into the possibility that a child is in need of protection. School personnel who suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection should not conduct an investigation regarding their suspicions or the disclosures of the child, and shall question the child only to clarify the nature of the complaint.
Responsibilities of Directors of Education
Directors of education are requested to ensure that:
For further details, please see the Child and Family Services Act.