Georgia makes parent volunteers in schools mandatory child abuse reporters. Is that a mistake?

Schools in Georgia are now informing parents of a law passed this year that broadens the list of people mandated to report child abuse. The list now includes volunteers at churches, colleges, clubs, summer camps or soccer fields or parents who chaperone a field trip. They could go to jail if they fail to report suspected abuse.

A Fulton parent sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to her legislator expressing concerns about the law. She writes:  “… there are hundreds of volunteers in the FCS system and I believe this law leaves the door open for the possibility of a volunteer thinking they see a case and reporting it ‘just in case.’  After all, if they don’t, they might be charged with a misdemeanor, right? This leaves a terrible scenario where an innocent child/family may be traumatized by the removal of a child and lengthy “investigations.” I personally would call this child abuse.”

A short excerpt of the letter is below. I asked the Fulton school system to explain this new policy, and that response is also below.

Like other systems, Fulton is following a state directive to notify all school volunteers that they must report any suspected child abuse to the Department of Family and Children Services or face legal charges. Fulton is holding a meeting Monday evening to explain the law to parents.

Cherokee included this mention of the law in its guidelines for volunteers: Understand that under current GA Law (O.C.G.A § 19-7-5), school-affiliated volunteers are considered as “mandated reporters” of suspected child abuse. Should you gain information as it relates to a suspected case of child abuse through a verbal/written communication, direct observation, or some other manner, you must report this information to your school’s administration immediately. It will become that administrator’s (or designee’s) responsibility to then report the suspected abuse to the appropriate state or local investigative agency.

The AJC reported on this law in the spring when it passed the General Assembly. Here is an excerpt of the story:

The change, when it becomes law, will mandate reporting by any employee or volunteer at any kind of agency, business, nonprofit or other group that works with children. Violators of the reporting mandate can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The amendment was added to House Bill 1176, which shortens sentences for lesser crimes to reduce the load on prisons. It was approved unanimously by both houses and awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, who promoted the initiative as one of his top priorities.

Spokesman Brian Robinson said Deal “definitely will sign” the bill. It becomes law July 1. “You’re going to see an exponential increase in reports of potential child abuse, ” predicted John Adams, a former human resources official for the Cobb County School District.

Adams, who now runs a teachers advocacy group called Educators First, said the new provisions would conceivably apply to every PTA member and even parents who volunteer in a classroom. Institutions will probably have to train, or at least educate, everyone who could fall under the law’s provisions, Adams said.

Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, authored the current mandatory reporting law that is limited to a handful of professions. This year, she proposed expanding it to all Georgians, but lawmakers thought that went too far. She said her goal was education and deterrence rather than prosecution for failure to report. She noted that three professionals have been convicted since the statute took effect in 2009.

The amendment was a bipartisan effort. It was written by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, with help from Carter at Emory, and folded into the governor’s sentencing bill by Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, co-chair of the House Special Joint Committee on Georgia Criminal Justice Reform.

Oliver said lawmakers concerned about child abuse seized on public support for action in the wake of the scandal at Penn State University, where assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of child sexual abuse. Oliver wanted to ensure that coaches were required to report suspicions of abuse.

Perhaps the biggest change: Previously only employees were clearly mandated as required to report suspected abuse, but now volunteers will fall under the provision.

“It’s obviously going to be a big thing, ” said Mike Bryant, executive director of the Bogart-based Georgia Association of Christian Schools. The group represents 55 mostly Baptist schools, a half-dozen of them in metro Atlanta. The schools require background checks and fingerprinting of teachers, Bryant said, but churches and schools are probably “all over the map” on checks for volunteers at Sunday school and church nurseries or for chaperoning field trips.

From a Fulton parent:

It has recently come to my attention that parents who volunteer in the Fulton County School system will now be required to to become “mandatory reporters” for any suspected child abuse. As a parent and volunteer myself, I am very disturbed at the amount of responsibility this gives us. We read to kids, provide teachers lunches, assist in the library, we are not accredited counselors or social workers.

I am concerned for a number of reasons…there are hundreds of volunteers in the FCS system, and I believe this law leaves the door open for the possibility of a volunteer “thinking” they see a case and reporting it “just in case.” After all, if they don’t, they might be charged with a misdemeanor, right? This leaves a terrible scenario, where an innocent child/family may be traumatized by the removal of a child and lengthy “investigations.”

Should this scenario play out — even once- — is not only too much, but can you imagine the family suing the volunteer? There will be no union or financial aid for them. This is just too much of a heavy burden to take I believe, and, in the best interest of all children, I do believe this is not a wise law. Just at the point when FCS need all the volunteer assistance they can get, I think they will lose many. I, for one.

I got online to complete the “training.” It took all of five minutes with two questions to answer, and they were multiple choice. If I got it wrong, they gave me another go. This is very poor [training] and unacceptable to me for the task you are asking of us. It really does not give me confidence in people’s observation abilities to correctly identify abuse. I am really concerned for the times we will get this wrong.

From Fulton schools spokeswoman:

Just to be clear this is not a school system mandate, but Georgia State mandate signed by Gov. Deal during the last legislative session. Systems are simply complying with the law. Fulton is going above the state law requirement by providing training. The training is online and at each school. FCS is also providing a new code of conduct so that volunteers can read and understand best practices before they begin to volunteer.

Safety will always be a priority for the school system. So although the law adds additional responsibility for volunteers, more importantly, it’s an extra safety-net to expose possible student abuse. The spirit of the law is to add more eyes and ears to the identification and reporting of child abuse in our schools as well as any child service organization.

As far as liability, the law clearly states that there are no legal consequences for any child abuse report made in “Good Faith;” however, failure to report when you suspect that a child is being abused can be considered a misdemeanor in Georgia. Once a report is received, all allegations are thoroughly investigated by the appropriate agency or department.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

183 comments Add your comment

Reality_Check

August 26th, 2012
7:08 am

The extension of the law to volunteers stopped me from volunteering as a mentor in my community. I can’t take the risk that my failure (as an untrained volunteer) to notice abuse might send me to jail. Note the “training” mentioned above. I can imagine that this will affect the number of available volunteers once the facts are realized.

SEE

August 26th, 2012
7:11 am

If you want to educate people, do so…but to make it criminal not to report “suspected” abuse…this is wrong on so many levels. First of all, this “law” is likely to make volunteers report even the slightest twinge of suspicion. For example, my 5 year old son fell and hit the corner of a table and sported a black eye for three days. A volunteer who read to the class and never saw my child before, might see my son’s eye and think a black eye is suspicious. On the flip side, a volunteer who never saw a child before, might read to a class and see a child with a black eye and not find anything suspicious, not knowing that this is the third black eye the child has had that month. How do you determine when a person should be “suspicious”? How do you determine culpability? Needless to say, many parents will refuse to volunteer just because of this “mandate”.

Skip

August 26th, 2012
7:12 am

Still believe that Republicans want smaller less intrusive government?

jd

August 26th, 2012
7:36 am

The costs of liability insurance will skyrocket — a coach or scout volunteer now has to defend themselves against individuals who have incentives to report anything they see while being protected from “mistakes”. A “mistake” can ruin someone else’s life. I think this is certainly a case of using a shotgun to fill a flea — lots of collateral damage.

MS Man

August 26th, 2012
7:36 am

DFACS has always been well-funded, with plenty of case workers to handle all the reports before, I can’t remember any issues with them missing something because there was too much work. This will really help those kids being abused who have to wait for a response from an investigator because of the well intended parent volunteers who saw a bruise on a kid and decided it was abuse. The legislature’s additional millions in the budget for DFACS will be appreciated. ( note sarcasm). Why do we feel the need to legislate morality?

God Bless the Teacher!

August 26th, 2012
8:43 am

Maybe I’m missing something here. Why would any adult who works with children NOT want to report suspected child abuse? I would be concerned of the volunteer, or whomever, who may have some vendeta against the parent of a child who would use this law to get back at said parent. It breaks my heart to think about children of whatever age being physically or emotionally abused by stupid parents. If I make a mistake and a parent is mad at me, so be it. I hope those parents would appreciate that I care enough about their children and other children to address such issues.

Tracy

August 26th, 2012
8:57 am

@MS MAN
I really hope you were joking when you said youcouldn’t remember any issues with DFCS workers because of too much work. Children’s deaths’s have clearly been documented because of too much work put on the case workers. I am torn with this simply because if I volunteer and I report and I am wrong it could put an investigation mark on someone’s record and even if found innocent it may prevent that person from getting a job but at the same time it may also save a child’s life. My son plays little league football and basketball so he always have scraps and bruises, my family have had teachers question us and him about these now we have to worry about volunteers. Good thing the school staff was trained to spot truth from fiction.

Old Physics Teacher

August 26th, 2012
9:09 am

“Good thing the school staff was trained to spot truth from fiction.” Hum? Really? I’ve got 3 advanced degrees, and I have no training other than being a parent myself and knowing kids in general. You risk being in jail because I don’t want to be in jail!!!

We have a legislature that is supposedly about individual freedom and small government making more and more laws putting themselves into more and more places our “forefathers” never intended them to go. Why am I not suprised. Replace each and every one of them. They know not what they are doing.

LoganvilleGuy

August 26th, 2012
9:20 am

@Tracy,

The post from MSMan CLEARLY said that it was sarcasm… Thus the “(note sarcarsm)” that he put at the end of the post.

catlady

August 26th, 2012
9:23 am

Tracy, of course he is being sarcastic! He even says so!

Our school has a half dozen parent volunteers (out of 620 kids)! I can see losing some of them, who don’t feel comfortable being MANDATED reporters. As it is, last year a volunteer had a concern about a child and brought it to the administrators. She did what an intelligent person would do. But MANDATING it? Too scary for most folks. They will do it, but don’t make it a law!

And for the Fulton volunteer above: You don’t know how SLOWLY DFACS works, except in cases of horrible abuse (and, apparently from the news, they miss some of those, too). Don’t be concerned about ruining a family. Very, very often DFACS “requires” parental education, but is loathe to actually remove children. I’ve been in education almost 40 years, and I have seen DFACS here take decisive, immediate action less than a dozen times.

And I love Skip’s point, above. How true, how true.

Pride and Joy

August 26th, 2012
9:28 am

I think the Georgia legislature and the school systems are right on target with this law. It’s common sense. We adults are already mandatory reporters of abuse and it has been that way from the beginning of time. Adults are obligated by the nature of us being adults to look after those less powerful than we are.
Whenever I am at church, I keep a careful eye on the priests and the children. When I am at the school I carefully watch all the children. When I am at our club I watch out for the kids at the pool. When they are running around on the wet cement deck I point to the lifeguard and remind them he or she can sit them out of the pool for breaking the rules.
No one has to threaten me with a jail sentence to force me to care about all the children, not just mine.
I was the recipient of kindness from strangers when I was a kid. When my parents failed to pick me up from school, a classmate’s parents would call my parents, beg them to pick me up and they would stay with me at the school for more than an hour until my lazy parents arrived to get me. I am alive and well today because of the kindness and caring from strangers.
I take my role as adult seriously. I watch over all the kids at the park to ensure their safety. At the zoo, the pool, the school, the zoo, the playground….my antennae is up and I always care. It’s hard to report abuse but but impossible for me to ignre the plight of an innocent. child.
If only I had been in that locker room when Sandusky raped that little innocent boy….I would have used all my physical strength to grab the little boy, dash off to a hospital and insisted on a rape kid. Sperm DNA doesn’t lie.
No law has to force me to be a mandatory reporter. My conscience aleady does that for me.

Whirled Peas

August 26th, 2012
9:30 am

Renee Unterman, R-Buford needs to remove the R from her name. She is a disgrace to our party.

TeriLand

August 26th, 2012
9:30 am

The requirement is to report “suspected” abuse. Why would anyone “suspect” abuse based solely on a child having a black eye??? I would certainly expect the volunteer to make the counselor or admin aware of the injury so they could talk to the child and make a determination to report or not. Just use common sense, people. It’s not that difficult.

homeschooler

August 26th, 2012
9:42 am

Catlady is right. I don’t think parents who have done nothing wrong need to be worried about losing their children. However, the average person whose child goes to school with a minor bruise might have to worry about DFCS showing up on their doorstep. People show no common sense and will report anything for fear of going to jail. DFCS is already seeing an increased number of reports of abuse that are made by teachers just because of their fear of going to jail. Ridiculous things that a teacher should realize are NOT abuse. Also, because of the current climate at dfcs in light of the recent child death, case managers have to investigate almost every call, regardless of how stupid it might sound.

And do you think they are going to hire more case managers? doubtful.

I know why they made this law and I think the intentions were good. They wanted to avoid situations where volunteers, coaches, churches etc.. look the other way and think “oh, it’s probably not my business”. People who work with kids should be held accountable if they allow a child to continue to be abused. However, there are going to be some very serious unintended consequences to this law.

Solutions

August 26th, 2012
9:43 am

Paranoia has already driven most men out of the education field, at least in K-12, now this new witch hunt is going to drive men out of youth sports and social clubs. Better to walk away than face the legal expense and public humiliation of defending yourself against reckless allegations. I would like to point out that the greatest scandal in the history of Walton High School in Marietta involved a female state championship volleyball coach and a 14 year old Dodgen Middle school female student. I believe the coach’s first name was Rene, and she served or is still serving a seven year prison sentence for her crimes, crimes that continued for almost six long years, and were only discovered by the child’s mother while snooping through the girl’s email account. I believe the trial was in 2003, if anyone is interested in looking up the details.

I_teach!!

August 26th, 2012
9:54 am

I think that if you are going to require parents to now become “mandated reporters” as we educators are, then they should be given the “training” (read: 15 minute videos) and lectures about it that we do.

Common sense would force any adult-”mandated” or not, to report suspected abuse/negligence; however, making the parent volunteers legally accountable, without proper training-as rudimentary as it is, is WRONG, and I watched as several parents balked at signing the document and opted NOT to volunteer this year…..

homeschooler

August 26th, 2012
9:56 am

Very well said “Pride and Joy” but the problem is that people lose all common sense when faced with going to jail. They think that because they see a counselor or principal arrested (happened twice in Cobb this past year) that it will happen to them. In reality, those cases were serious, no brainers and those people should have reported. No one is going to get arrested because they saw a child with a black eye and didn’t report it.
@ “Teriland” You asked.. “Why would anyone “suspect” abuse based solely on a child having a black eye?” Why indeed, but they do. We have a serious problem with people seeing abuse everywhere. Call them “do gooders” or “drama queens” they want to be the one who saves this poor child who doesn’t even need saving.
Also, I swear people see this law and report out of spite and disagreement with the law. “Well, I better call this in because I’m a mandated reporter. I don’t really think there is anything wrong here but if this child dies, I’ll go to jail”. More drama, less common sense. Just makes it harder on everyone.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:07 am

any illusion republicans want government out of peoples lives crashed long ago. they want the same, maybe more power than the democrats. they just want to use it differently.

I just wonder if we’ll see the same group of posters who decry the mythical Ga teachers unions support this kind of stupidity. at least one already has….

Parent Teacher

August 26th, 2012
10:11 am

You can’t legislate morality. Systems should have expectations set for parent volunteers but the legislation should not exist. This is another example of the government setting rules on individuals. This will definately discourage volunteers in our schools and elsewhere.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:18 am

as a long time volunteer in my district, I am gonna think long and hard about continuing.

the leaders of most volunteer groups tend to be petty, dysfunctional, and vindictive. I recently watched the two hardest working volunteers I’ve ever known get run off by “management” for not towing the party line. the party line. of course, being “management ” retaining control of everything and everyone involved.

at least with this group, I’d not put it past them to report someone for failure to report just because they didn’t agree with “management”.

this stupid ruling is a road to hell, nothing less. and will drive parents even further away from getting involved in schools.

which may be the primary purpose of this stupid thing.

whistleblower

August 26th, 2012
10:18 am

ILLUMINATI MIND GAMES MUST STOP WITH ALL THESE RIDICULOUS LAWS……FROM THIS CRAZY LAW TO THE GENTLEMAN IN THE PACIFIC NW WHO WAS SENTENCED TO 30 DAYS IN JAIL FOR COLLECTING RAIN WATER……..PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE USA IS BEING COVERTLY TRANSFORMED INTO A ” POLICE STATE “…..IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, THEN PLEASE LOOK IT UP , OPEN YOUR EYES , AND QUIT GOING THROUGH YOUR DAILY ROUTINES LIKE DUMB OR ROBOTIC SHEET……IF YOU ARE STUCK IN A ROUTINE OR IF YOUR LIFE IS VERY ROUTINE, THEN YOU ARE IN A DANGEROUS PLACE…

redweather

August 26th, 2012
10:19 am

@God Bless the Teacher: “Maybe I’m missing something here. Why would any adult who works with children NOT want to report suspected child abuse?”

One issue is whether an untrained adult is capable of making this judgment call. What if the legislature passed a law requiring all adults to report spouse abuse or face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine? Would you be for that too? What if the Legislature passed a law requiring all adults to report substance abuse or face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine? Would you be for that too?

In my view there is a big difference between asking people to keep their ears and eyes open, and threatening them with imprisonment and fines if they don’t. How long would it be before adults began reporting other adults for not reporting abuse?

This sounds like something right out of George Orwell’s 1984.

whistleblower

August 26th, 2012
10:20 am

ROBOTIC “SHEET” SHOULD BE ROBOTIC “SHEEP” IN THE ABOVE COMMENT

Lee

August 26th, 2012
10:23 am

This will be just another example in a long line of “Laws with unintended consequences.”

You just know that if this law is enacted, there will be some volunteers who will go overboard and report every little bruise and every bandaid to the authorities. And then you will have DFACS complaining that they cannot do their jobs because they are having to deal with all these false reports.

Finally, “volunteers” and “mandatory” should never be spoken in the same sentence.

George Orwell was right, he just had the wrong date ….

Maureen Downey

August 26th, 2012
10:26 am

@lee. This law was enacted. Governor signed and it went into effect last month.
Maureen

Pride and Joy

August 26th, 2012
10:27 am

Parent Teacher you wrote something very said and absolutely incorrect. YOu said “You can’t legislate morality. Systems should have expectations set for parent volunteers but the legislation should not exist. This is another example of the government setting rules on individuals. This will definately discourage volunteers in our schools and elsewhere.
First of all, we legislate morality every minute of every day. Legislation is in effect for our morals at work, in public and insdie our home, even between the bonds of marriage. The law is everywhere legislating every moral you think exists.

Secondly, if a volunteer decides not to volunteer because they don’t want to be a mandatory reporter, to them I say good riddance and God speed. I don’t want my child being raped and abused because some volunteer doesn’t want to report it.
Ths is a good law. It forces everyone to recognize that ALL adults are required to BE adults. If anyone is too cihlcken or self-centered to be a real adult volunteer, they should absolutley quit being any kind of volunteer AND keep your kid at home so that those of we adults who do care won’t be burdened to watch over your kids too.
If you don’t want to be a real adult volunteer, don’t expect the rest of we real adult volunteers to take on the extra responsibility of your kid. Stay at home with your cowardice and your kids.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:28 am

the other big problem much of “abuse” is in the eye of the beholder. what one person sees as abuse others see as no big deal.

example: spanking. I’ve been spanked, and I’ve been (IMO) beaten. two vastly different experiences. but some see even speaking harshly to a child as “abuse”.

this is a pandora’s box waiting to be opened.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:30 am

Pride & Joy is exactly the reason I am opposed to this stupidity.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:31 am

Illiminati….

I know its not a full moon, so what is bringing the nuts out today?

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:36 am

when a kid playing football gets banged up, is that abuse?
when a kid playing on a skateboard gets road rash, is that abuse?
when a kid who trains in martial arts gets bruised up from sparring, is that abuse?
with the current tread of self inflicted groin trauma, is that abuse?
if a kid is sent to bed without supper for bad behavior, is that abuse?
if a accident prone kid keeps getting hurt, is that abuse?

SEE

August 26th, 2012
10:38 am

I don’t think it is cowardice to worry about the unintended consequences of this law. A person could end up being on trial for vindictive reasons. Parents (especially of medically fragile children) could find themselves subject to constant questioning by DFCS. Underfunded and understaffed DFCS could miss real abuse cases because they are so backloaded by unnecessary reports. My husband would not hesitate to report child abuse if he suspected it, but he will not volunteer because of this mandate. He does not want to get caught up in what can be unreasonable expectations and/or group politics.

redweather

August 26th, 2012
10:39 am

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:41 am

what is really, truly pathetic is how some here are taking advantage of the Jerry Sandusky abomination to press political points. there is a vast difference between the two situations, and any rational person knows it.

people making this deliberate, calculated leap for cheap political points are the lowest kind of pond scum. in many was worse than the priests and coaches they site for their pathetic points.

these are exactly the sort of people I’m afraid of in this new Orwellian system.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:42 am

@ see

exactly!

Digger

August 26th, 2012
10:46 am

I bet ‘Pride and Joy’ or ‘Good Mother’ or whatever it is would lurk around and peer into folks houses in search of wrongdoing.

Pride and Joy

August 26th, 2012
10:47 am

TeriLand asks a surprising question “Why would anyone “suspect” abuse based solely on a child having a black eye???”
Teriland, I am certain you realize that parents often abuse their own kids. Black eyes are commonly caused by a punch to the face — a powerful punch to the face.

…but kskinned knees and bruises on knees are the results of common mishaps on the playground. My child’s knees always have a scab, a bruise or a band-aid on them. My child has never ever had a black eye. Black eyes are rare — someone has to PUNCH you in the face It’s a trauma injury caused by blunt force and blunt force is rarely ever a playground mishap.

Those people who really are afraid of this law are two kinds:
Those who are abusers. They abuse their own kids and are afraid of being caught.
and the other kind, the users. Those who want all the other parents to take responsibility for their kids and watch over their kids but don’t want to put the effort in to take responsibility for anyone but themselves.

Fears of people going to jail for reporting a suspected abuse is ridiculous. Teachers are mandatory reporters today. They report abuse frequenty. Now, think about it, when do you ever hear about a teacher going to jail for reporting abuse? I’ve heard of NONE.

We also have to remember that volunteers are not paid to do anything and they are the best kind of reporters because they have no income to lose. No one can threaten a volunteer with losing their job.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:47 am

@ Maureen

any chance you have some ready links to this mess. I know at least one of the groups I’m involved with has no idea this is law, and I want to send them informational links (if I can) so we can discuss this at the next board meeting.

people should know what they are now involved in.

Pride and Joy

August 26th, 2012
10:50 am

Bbootney, you surprised me you asked “if a kid is sent to bed without supper for bad behavior, is that abuse?
YES>
Witholding food is abuse, plain and simple. It is against the law to starve children, even your own.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:50 am

obviously P&J has never had a black eye, because he has no idea what he’s talking about.

requires a punch…what a pantload.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:51 am

missing a meal is “starving” a child?

what a moron

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:52 am

when a teenage girl skips a meal, as many do, are they abused?

crankee-yankee

August 26th, 2012
10:54 am

The Law of Unintended Consequences will kick in and schools will lose volunteers.
We are already relying more on volunteers than ever before because of “austerity cuts.”
The paranoid among us would say it is all part of the plan to destroy public education in this state.
Others would say it is religious rightists pandering to child-rearing votes.
Then there are those of us who just laugh at the stupidity of it all and sit back to watch the show.

Michael

August 26th, 2012
10:54 am

This is bad legislation. Did she consult with the state PTA on this? Requiring education and training of volunteers to confront a potential crime is one thing; threatening prosecution for a failure to report is another. I wonder if she’d hold her fellow nurses to this same standard in an incident of medical malpractice? The result of this perhaps well-intended law will be this: fewer parent volunteers in our schools — exactly what we DON’T need. That’s just the market-based reality of it, if you look at it from a parent’s risk/reward perspective. And isn’t she a member of the caucus that touts less gov’t intrusion into the lives of the electorate? I don’t disagree wth the intent, but I think there is a better means to the end. I know…why don’t we make all state legislators mandatory corruption reporters when they see their colleagues making out-of-state backroom deals or double dipping on their per diem expense reports?!?!

David Granger

August 26th, 2012
10:55 am

There does need to be some very strict guidelines as to what “child abuse” is defined as, or else you’ll have some people reporting parents just for correcting their kids.

redweather

August 26th, 2012
10:55 am

Yeah, I remember when my four month old son gave me a black eye. I was holding him in my arms. His wobbling head met my eye socket with quite a bit of force. As a new father I wore that black eye with pride if not also joy.

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:56 am

@ crankee

I think it goes a bit further: power freaks and hypersensitive idiots cover all walks of life

Pride and Joy

August 26th, 2012
10:56 am

@ bootney and @maureen — especially Maureen…
What would be newsworthy and especially pertinent to this discussion is for the mdiea (Maureen) to post links to good education sites for training volunteers to be mandatory reporters. Surely with all of Maureen’s contacts and with her press pass she can call up the AJC’s networks and do a real service to the commmunity — by helping parents and other volunteers to get the training they need.
This is ALREADY a law.
For those of us who are willing to abide by the law and care for the children, we would be really interesteed in educating ourselves to be the best responsible volunteers we can be.

So how about it, Maureen?
Please use the power of the press and your vast networks to help good volunteeres find the training we need to keep the children safe.

crankee-yankee

August 26th, 2012
10:57 am

bootney farnsworth
August 26th, 2012
10:41 am

Shame on you, denigrating pond scum like that by comparing it to politicians!

bootney farnsworth

August 26th, 2012
10:58 am

@ David,

that horse has left the barn. best we can hope for now is to mitigate the damage.

Maureen Downey

August 26th, 2012
10:58 am

@bootney, Here is the bill link. Underlined portions are what was added and where you will see new language on volunteers:
http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20112012/127628.pdf

Here is the state attorney general’s letter on new law:
http://law.ga.gov/00/press/detail/0,2668,87670814_180301954_185518280,00.html

Here is one law firm’s take on it:
http://www.georgia-criminal-lawyers.com/2012/08/new-georgia-law-requires-more-people-to-report-suspected-child-abuse/