All Child and Youth Programs (CYP) professionals are mandated reporters by law and Marine Corps policy (MCO 1754.11 Family Advocacy Program and MCO 1710.30 Child and Youth Programs). Any alleged or suspected child abuse must be reported to the installation Family Advocacy Program (FAP) office and local Child Protective Services (CPS).
Child abuse is defined the physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect of a child by a parent, guardian, foster parent, or by a caregiver, whether the caregiver is intra-familial or extra-familial, under circumstances indicating the child’s welfare is harmed or threatened. Such acts by a sibling, other family member, or other person shall be deemed to be child abuse only when the individual is providing care under express or implied agreement with the parent, guardian, or foster parent (DoDI 6400.01 May 2019). The four main forms of child abuse are physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect.
Abuse may be classified as institutional (when the alleged abuse occurred while in a DoD-sanctioned activity) or noninstitutional (when the alleged abuse occurred outside of a DoD-sanctioned activity).
Making the Report:
All incidents of suspected child abuse are reported to the installation FAP office and the local CPS agency. Reporting procedures remain the same regardless of whether the alleged or suspected abuser is a professional, parent or other caregiver.
Professionals complete the following procedures when there is a belief that an incident of child abuse occurred:
- Immediately notify the installation FAP and local CPS agency to make an official report and include factual details including, but not limited to, the parties involved, observations of incident or injury, and how the incident came to the attention of CYP.
- For after-hours reporting, the 24 hour on-call FAP number is used.
- Complete NAVMC 1750/6, USMC Child and Youth Programs Incident Report.
- For alleged or suspected institutional child abuse, the HQMC CYP Serious Incident Report (SIR) is completed and submitted to HQMC within 24 hours.
For programs outside of the continental United States (OCONUS), the reporting requirements are nearly identical except that OCONUS locations generally do not have access to a local CPS and thus, must work directly with the installation FAP to ensure complete reporting.
Personnel working within the Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) program, notify CYP Management when a report to FAP and or CPS is made about any CYP participant or program.
Child abuse cases are highly sensitive and remain confidential. Except as otherwise required, CYP Professionals do not discuss the report and notification of child abuse with anyone other than their installation chain of command, HQMC, FAP representatives, and the investigating authorities. All inquiries regarding the alleged child abuse incident are referred to the investigating authorities.
After the Report:
FAP staff, law enforcement and the local child protective services may contact CYP if additional information is needed regarding the report.
In cases of alleged institutional child abuse, occurring in a CYP facility or activity, the accused full and/or part-time employee(s) is removed from the facility and/or activity and assigned to duties in which contact with children is not possible, until all investigations and assessments are complete, and determinations have been made. The accused flex/intermittent employee(s) is not scheduled until all investigations and assessments are complete, and determinations have been made. The Director coordinates all personnel actions with the Human Resources (HR) Office.
In cases of alleged institutional child abuse occurring in an FCC home, operation are immediately suspended and participants placed in other available CYP spaces until all investigations and assessments are complete. The FCC provider is not reinstated until all investigations and assessments are completed and the determination to reopen the home is made by the installation commander or designee in coordination with the Quality Review Board.
When FAP staff receives a report of child abuse or domestic abuse, a credentialed FAP clinician is assigned to conduct an assessment of the victim, alleged abuser, others living in the home, and potential witnesses. This assessment does not replace the investigation by law enforcement or the local CPS.
After the assessment is complete, and within 45 days of the incident report, the incident goes to the FAP Incident Determination Committee (IDC). The purpose of the committee is to decide which referrals for suspected child abuse meet the DoD criteria that define such abuse, requiring entry into the FAP Central Registry.
Due to confidentiality, child and youth program professionals are not routinely provided the outcome of child abuse allegations. The IDC process and its resulting determination are administrative in nature and is not a legal process. Administrative action taken following an alleged incident of abuse involving a staff member or volunteer in a DoD sponsored facility or activity should not be dependent upon the determination of the IDC.