MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday announced a statewide effort to ensure all mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect receive the necessary training to better protect Alabama’s children.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) now has an online training course for persons mandated to report child abuse or neglect on its website. The online training is designed to instruct mandated reporters on important elements of the reporting process.
Persons who are considered mandated reporters includes: public and private K-12 employees, teachers and officials, employees of public and private institutions of post-secondary and higher education, medical employees, child care workers, law enforcement officials, members of the clergy, mental health professionals and others.
This year alone, the Department of Human Resource is working more than 29,000 cases of child abuse or neglect involving more than 45,000 children in Alabama.
“There is nothing more important than the safety of the children of Alabama,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “This online training created by Department of Human Resource is essential for all persons to take, not just mandatory reporters. We all play a key role in ensuring that, if a child appears to be in danger, swift action is taken to protect the child and hopefully mitigate any long term effects.”
The training, which takes less than an hour to complete, covers why it is important to report child abuse or neglect, who is required to report it, how to recognize it, how to report it and what happens after a report is made.
“It’s very important that, when someone suspects that a child is being abused or neglected, a report be made to the Department or law enforcement as soon as possible,” DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said. “We believe the online training will help those mandated to make reports better recognize what to report and how to report it.”
The Code of Alabama § 26-14-3 (1975) provides that certain persons must, by law, report suspected abuse or neglect. Any mandated reporter who chooses not to report suspected abuse or neglect may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for failing to comply with the law.
“Educators across the state take our responsibility as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect seriously,” State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice said. “This new online training opportunity provided by DHR, for our teachers and staff, will lead to even greater understanding of the signs of abuse and appropriate reporting procedures.”
Anyone interested in taking the online training may do so by visiting DHR’s website or going directly to the link at http://training.dhr.alabama.gov.
This online course was adapted with permission from training created by the North Dakota Department of Human Services.
The Governor’s Press Office can be reached at 334-241-7150.