Thesis

California's school-based mandated reporter training: A qualitative evaluation

A new requirement was enacted into California law in 2015 to better equip school personnel to effectively fulfill their role as mandated reporters. California’s AB 1432 law requires annual training of school personnel on identifying and reporting suspicions of child abuse and neglect. This exploratory study sought to capture teachers’ and school-based mental health professionals’ perceptions of the efficacy of this mandated reporter training. The participants selected for this study work in six public school districts that serve low socioeconomic (SES) neighborhoods in the Sacramento Valley. This study employed qualitative content analysis to evaluate participants’ responses; data was collected via two focus groups (n= 12) and 12 in-depth interviews (n= 12). Of the 24 participants, 12 were teachers and 12 were school-based mental health professionals. The findings indicate a number of themes regarding the training itself (a refresher, convenient, impersonal, lack of information regarding early intervention/prevention strategies, and lack of information regarding risk factors and red-flag behaviors), as well as highlight some perceived barriers to reporting child maltreatment to in general (poor inter-agency collaboration and negative reporting experiences). Based on the research findings and conclusions, it is recommended that ongoing research be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of mandated reporter training content as well as the method for delivering the training. For example, schools may be able to improve mandated reporter training by offering an in-person training to new employees and those employees unfamiliar with reporting. This can help better prepare school staff to recognize and report ongoing child maltreatment and so is an important investment for all school districts.

Thesis (M.S.W., Social Work)--California State University, Sacramento, 2016.

A new requirement was enacted into California law in 2015 to better equip school personnel to effectively fulfill their role as mandated reporters. California’s AB 1432 law requires annual training of school personnel on identifying and reporting suspicions of child abuse and neglect. This exploratory study sought to capture teachers’ and school-based mental health professionals’ perceptions of the efficacy of this mandated reporter training. The participants selected for this study work in six public school districts that serve low socioeconomic (SES) neighborhoods in the Sacramento Valley. This study employed qualitative content analysis to evaluate participants’ responses; data was collected via two focus groups (n= 12) and 12 in-depth interviews (n= 12). Of the 24 participants, 12 were teachers and 12 were school-based mental health professionals. The findings indicate a number of themes regarding the training itself (a refresher, convenient, impersonal, lack of information regarding early intervention/prevention strategies, and lack of information regarding risk factors and red-flag behaviors), as well as highlight some perceived barriers to reporting child maltreatment to in general (poor inter-agency collaboration and negative reporting experiences). Based on the research findings and conclusions, it is recommended that ongoing research be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of mandated reporter training content as well as the method for delivering the training. For example, schools may be able to improve mandated reporter training by offering an in-person training to new employees and those employees unfamiliar with reporting. This can help better prepare school staff to recognize and report ongoing child maltreatment and so is an important investment for all school districts.

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