Take some time to reflect on the emotions that you might experience after witnessing or reporting a suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
As a support staff member, what can you do to ensure children are kept safe?
We each play a role, and we must do our jobs well. Your job is to report your suspicions. You must trust that everyone else does their jobs well, too. Talk to your training and curriculum specialist or program manager about Family Advocacy Programs. Know who your FAP teams are and talk to them about the work they do and how they can support your work.
Imagine that you suspect a parent in your program of child abuse or neglect. Reflect on the emotions that you might feel.
You might feel nervous, scared, or angry. You might feel embarrassed that you hadn’t noticed the signs of abuse before. You might feel doubtful that it is abuse or in disbelief that the parent could ever hurt their child.
Imagine that you suspect a coworker of abusing a child in the program. Reflect on the emotions that you might feel.
You might feel nervous scared or angry. You might feel guilty about reporting a friend or coworker or in disbelief that your coworker could ever hurt a child in their care. You might feel guilty that your coworker might lose their job if you report them.
Reflect on the emotions that you might feel after making a report of suspected child abuse and neglect.
You might feel worried that the family or coworker will know that you made the report and fear retaliation. You might feel relieved that the family is getting the help they need as a result of the report. You might also feel a strong need to know more about the follow-up after the report, but confidentiality laws will prevent you from getting more information. This might feel frustrating, but it is important to respect the privacy of families.
You might feel embarrassed, ashamed, or remorseful if someone shares with you that it was not abuse. But remember you did the right thing. You should feel proud for speaking up for the child.
Reflect on how you might feel if the child is withdrawn from the program after you make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect.
You might feel disappointed or angry. You might feel scared for the child’s safety. You might feel worried that they child will be hurt even worse because of the report. You may also feel guilty that because of the report, the one safe place the child had was taken away.
Reflect on the kind of resources or support you might need after witnessing or reporting a suspicion of child abuse or neglect. What might you need from your coworkers, program manager, or community?
You might need your program manager or coworkers to listen as you talk, cry, or get angry. You might need your program manager to sit with you as you make the report. You might need a list of workplace resources or counseling services. You might need time off to process what you observed or reported and the emotions that you are feeling as a result. You might need to consider counseling if the stress of the situation is too challenging.