Date of Conferral







Benita Stiles-Smith


Child maltreatment has proven to be a mainstream issue in the United States, with millions of children being referred to state welfare systems for investigation or alternative response intervention. Research has identified mandated reporters as being responsible for reporting the majority of these cases. Amongst those identified as mandated reporters, education personnel refer the greatest number of children for suspicion of child abuse or neglect, partly because of their ongoing contact daily; however, many of the cases they report are unsubstantiated. Past research findings have concluded that mandated reporters in schools lacked proper child abuse training. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of training for child abuse reporting with mandated reporters in schools in relation to consistency in reporting of child abuse. Prosocial behavior theory underpinned the research. A semistructured interview was used for data collected from a sample of 10 school professionals. Analysis used a modified van Kaam method, with active processes and member checking for confirming data trustworthiness. Key findings of this study included that school professionals’ felt the need for ongoing training throughout the school year, rather than an annual update. Desired training would include more information regarding the process of identifying reportable child abuse, along with safely managing relationships between parent and school during the process. Results of this research may provide information for contributing to the training process and content made available to increase consistent reporting by these mandated school reporters leading to positive social change.

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