A recent ammendment to House Bill 1176 now also includes volunteers in the group of people who are required to report child abuse. From the bill: “‘Child service organization personnel’ means persons employed by or volunteering at a business or an organization, whether public, private, for profit, not for profit, or voluntary, that provides care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter to children.” If you work for a nonprofit or government agency that uses volunteers who would fall into one of the listed categories, consider using this template to amend your volunteer policies regarding mandatory reporting of child abuse. Here is the full history of House Bill 1176 and a copy of the current version of House Bill 1176 if you’re interested in more details or in potentially expanding what is included in the template.
Volunteers, if you work with children and are uncertain of the proper channels you should use to report suspected child abuse, please get in touch with the volunteer coordinator of the agency you currently volunteer with ASAP. If you’re just starting up, be sure to ask during your training or orientation. It’s better to know when you don’t need it, then to not know when it’s too late! There will be some serious repercussions for not reporting, as noted in this article from the Atlanta Journal Consititution, but above all else, we all want to keep our children safe. So know your responsibilities and act appropriately!