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Lesson 8

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 09:23 AM

According to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) website, as of September 16, 2017, as a mandatory reporter you MUST by law make a report if you have reason to believe abuse, abandonment, neglect, or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred.

A vulnerable adult is defined by law as a person:
60 years of age or older who has the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for himself or herself; or
Found incapacitated under chapter 11.88 RCW; or
Who has a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020; or
Admitted to any facility; or
Receiving services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW; or
Receiving services from an individual provider; or
Who self-directs his or her own care and receives services from a personal aide under chapter 74.39 RCW.

To report abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in Washington State, call the:
Complaint Resolution Unit toll-free hotline at 1-800-562-6078 if the person that you suspect is being abused or neglected is living in a nursing home, boarding home, or adult family home.

Local Adult Protective Services (APS) office if the person you suspect is being abused is living in their own home or somewhere other than a residential care facility. Find the APS office in your county.

APS will take the report and investigate if APS has jurisdiction and the adult is considered a vulnerable adult. An APS investigator will:
conduct a home visit, usually unannounced;
interview other individuals who may have information about the situation; and
offer protective services if the investigator determines abuse has occurred.
Depending upon the situation, law enforcement may also be called upon to investigate.
If abuse is confirmed, APS works closely with others in the community to ensure the health and safety of the vulnerable adult. This may include such things as having a case manager work with the vulnerable adult to determine what care services are needed and helping him/her get those services, emergency shelter, food, medical care, counseling, help moving if it is necessary and follow up to ensure the adult is safe.

On the legal front, APS may report the alleged abuser to law enforcement, help get an emergency protective order, an injunction to allow access to an alleged victim or referral for legal assistance. In extreme cases, APS may work with the Attorney General’s office to appoint a guardian.

It is important to understand the vulnerable adult has the right to make his/her choices. A vulnerable adult who has been abused has the right to refuse any or all interventions or change his/her mind and withdraw consent to any assistance from APS at any time.

When You Must Also Call:

Law Enforcement

Mandatory reporters must also make a report to law enforcement if they suspect a vulnerable adult has been sexually or physically assaulted, or if they have reasonable cause to believe that an act has caused fear of imminent harm.
Mandatory reporters may not have to make a report to law enforcement for some types of physical assault between two vulnerable adults. For these types of physical assault, see RCW 74.34.035(4).

Medical Examiner or Coroner
Mandatory reporters are also required by law to report a death to the local Medical Examiner or Coroner if there is reason to suspect that the death of a vulnerable adult was caused by abuse.

When You Call:

You will be asked to give the person’s name, address, contact information and details about why you are concerned. You will also be asked for your name and number or some way of contacting you if the investigator has follow up questions. Unless there is a court action, law enforcement has been called in, or you agree, your identity is confidential. If you report in good faith, you cannot be held liable for any damages resulting from reporting.
How to Report Child Abuse or Neglect

Offices within local communities are responsible for receiving and investigating reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Reports are received by Child Protective Services (CPS) located in each community office and assessed to determine whether the report meets the legal definition of abuse or neglect and how dangerous the situation is.

Children's Administration offers several ways to report abuse:

Daytime - Find your local office number to report abuse or neglect in your area.
My local office is:
Martin Luther King Jr. Office (Office ID is 798)
(206) 760-2068
1 (800) 379-4139
Fax: (206) 721-4196
TTY: 711
Intake: 1 (800) 609-8764
3600 S. Graham St.
Seattle, WA 98118-3034
MailStop: MS N41-4

Nights & Weekends - call 1-800-562-5624 to report abuse during the evening or on weekends.

Hotline – call 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276), Washington State's toll-free, 24 hour, 7 day-a-week hotline that will connect you directly to the appropriate local office to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

TTY Callers - call 1-800-624-6186 to place a direct TTY call.

Questions that will be asked when you call
1. The name, address and age of the child.
2. The name and address of the child's parent, guardian or other persons having custody of the child.
3. The nature and extent of the abuse or neglect.
4. Any evidence of previous incidences.
5. Any other information which may be helpful in establishing the cause of the child's abuse or neglect and the identity of the perpetrator.

You do not need to have all of the above information when you call to make a report, but the more accurate information you can provide, the better equipped the offices will be to assess the child's safety.

The website for reporting Child Abuse also provides the following helpful links:

Mandatory Reporter Video
Protecting the Abused and Neglected Child - An explanation of the Washington State mandatory reporting law on child abuse
What Mandated Reporters Need to Know about Racial Disproportionality in the Child Welfare System - 8 minute YouTube video

The Washington State Legislature website provides all the legal definitions and explanations regarding mandatory reporting at http://app.leg.wa.go...px?cite=246-16.

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