Linking Schools and Social Services

The Case of Child Abuse Reporting

by Gail L. Zellman

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Coordination of schools and child protective services (CPS) agencies on child abuse reporting is required by law because school staff are mandated to report suspected maltreatment to CPS agencies. National data reveal that school staff generally comply with the reporting mandate. Although school district policy and resource limitations reinforce compliance with the reporting laws, CPS agency policies designed to limit reports and to focus resources on the most serious cases are inconsistent with district policies. As a result, school staff reports may be greeted with annoyance and rejection. The implications of this apparent conflict for child protection and for other coordination efforts are discussed.

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