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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Aileen C. McKenna
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
Title: Reluctant to Report: The Mandated Reporting Practices of Child Care Providers
Dr. Kieran Fogarty, Chair
Dr. Amy Curtis
Dr. James Henry
Date: Friday, May 7, 2010 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
College of Health and Human Services, Room 2024
Child care providers spend far more time with children under age three, the most likely to suffer severe and fatal abuse and neglect, than any other mandated reporter. Their close relationships with both the child and the family places them in a unique position to observe signs and suspicions of abuse or neglect and to make timely reports to Child Protective Services (CPS). Yet despite this, child care providers rank last among mandated reporters in both reporting suspicions of abuse and neglect and in actual substantiated reports. Only a handful of studies have looked specifically at the decision making practices of child care providers in reporting suspected abuse and neglect. This study is the first to investigate a national sample of child care providers. This is also the first study to specifically focus on the mandating reporting practices of child care providers working in licensed child care homes. Results of an anonymous online survey indicated child care providers were confused about their legal responsibilities, felt non-academic training on abuse and neglect was more beneficial than training received in an academic setting and families and providers alike had mostly positive experiences with CPS. However, child care providers were clearly uncomfortable answering any questions about their professional relationship with families and CPS after a mandated report was made as indicated by their avoidance in answering those questions.