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Suspected Child Abuse
Procedures for identifying and reporting suspected child abuse:

First Step will protect children form abuse or neglect while in the center’s care. If a staff member learns that a child has been abused or neglected and is concerned that the child is in danger, the staff member shall immediately report the suspicion to the director. The director will immediately notify the Department of Early Education and Care after filing a 51A alleging abuse or neglect. It is the center’s responsibility to report any physical or emotional injury resulting from any type of abuse. Immediately the director will make an oral report to the Department of Social Services, followed by a written report within 48 hours. Failure to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect will result in a fine.

The program will cooperate in all investigations of abuse or neglect regarding children currently enrolled in the program or previously enrolled in the program. First Step will allow the disclosure of information to any person or agency that may require it necessary for a prompt investigation. Failure for the center to cooperate may be grounds for suspension, revocation or refusal to issue a new license.

A staff member will be immediately be suspended for a period of time without pay for any allegations of abuse or neglect towards any child. The director will immediately inform the Department of Early Education and Care. An investigation will be conducted and if the allegation is found be true the staff member will be immediately terminated. If the investigation finds that the allegations are non-compliant, the staff member will receive the pay earned during the suspension time. Sick/personal days or vacation time will be used first.

Any staff member accused of abused or neglect towards a child, can not return to work until the Department of Social Services and the department of Early Education and Care notify the center to do so. First Step will continue to cover the staff member’s health and dental insurance, during suspension time until the investigation is over.

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