All school-age care workers are legally required to report any cases of suspected child abuse or neglect while on duty or in relation to any participants. All staff members receive training in detecting and reporting child abuse. If you suspect a participant has been abused or neglected:
- Question the child in a confidential setting. Do not use leading questions. Report your suspicions to the site coordinator, Youth Development Coordinator and/or to an agency administrator.
- Call the DCFS Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-2873). Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Name, address, and age of victim(s)
- Name and address of parent(s)/caretaker(s) and siblings
- Relationship of caretaker(s) to victim(s)
- Details of the abuse, including specifics of the incident(s), location and severity of injuries, any pattern of neglect or abuse, and any physical evidence.
- Any explanation provided by the child
When a report involves an employee or volunteer and if a hotline report is accepted, they will be suspended pending results of the investigation. and a determination made by IDCFS. If the hotline does not accept the report, an internal investigation will be completed by the supervisor and/or the Adams County Youth Development Coordinator. If the allegations are substantiated, the employee may be terminated or a staff development plan may be developed to address less serious infractions.
All information will be included in an Incident Report and the Written Confirmation of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Report: Mandated Reporters form, provided by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
The supervisor and/or the Adams County Youth Development Coordinator will be responsible for follow up and will inform the staff and family of the final findings of the investigation.
STAFF SCREENING PROCEDURE
All staff hired for Teen REACH, age 18 and older, who will be used in place of staff, will be conditional, based on completion of a background check including LEADS and CANTS. Upon hire, each staff will sign a statement regarding prior convictions. Anyone with criminal convictions related to harm of a child, including, but not limited to: murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse, stalking, battery, as well as other sex offenses will not be continued as an employee of Teen REACH. Other arrests, convictions and indicated child abuse reports will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Adams County Teen REACH Steering Committee to determine continuation or termination of employment. Additional information may be requested to assist in making a determination.
Volunteers, interns and work-study students are exempt from screening unless they are used to replace staff in the supervision of youth or are left alone with youth.
Sites with procedures in place will screen staff according to agency procedures. Sites with no established procedure will have all newly hired staff and volunteers who meet the above criteria, complete an Authorization for Background Screening and submit it to the Youth Development Coordinator. The Youth Development Coordinator will process screening through the IDCFS CANTS system and through the Adams County LEADS system.
ENROLLMENT AND TERMINATION PROCEDURE
Each youth must be currently enrolled to participate in program activities. Enrollment criteria includes having an valid parent consent for participation, and being entered into the eCornerstone data system.
Youth may be terminated from the program due to serious violations of rules as indicated in this manual or for lack of participation.
The site coordinator or designee will review the enrollment list, as provided through eCornerstone to determine which youth are no longer participating in the program. These youth will be terminated from the eCornerstone data system. If they choose to reenter the program they will be reenrolled in the eCornerstone data system.
Upon termination from the program for cause, staff will communicate with the parents regarding the cause of the termination and the procedure to be readmitted, if the youth chooses to participate in the future. This contact will be documented in the participant file.
Each site will orient all youth participants to the Teen REACH program as soon as possible after they join the program. At the time of orientation, each youth will sign the Teen REACH Contract. The orientation should include:
- the purpose of the program
- rules of the site
- transportation information
- attendance guidelines
- policies related to alcohol/drugs, weapons, violence, smoking, vulgarity, behavior
- review of the daily schedule and group assignments, where applicable
- All staff that are authorized to access eCStone must complete the on-line training or equivalent prior to receiving their log-on and temporary password.
- To request that a new staff be added as user, the staff person must sign the User Security Form and forward it to the Security Administrator. The Security Administrator will forward a copy to the DHS Regional Administrator and will file the original at the agency.
- The Security Coordinator will remove all authorized users within 48 hours of their last day of employment with the agency.
- The site coordinator will be responsible for assuring that all required data is entered and is accurate, within the timeframe indicated.
- All staff will record any problems that they encounter in the eCstone Log and will contact the Program Liaison if a problem requires contacting the Call Center. The Program Liaison will contact the Call Center as appropriate, and will work with staff to resolve problems.
- All staff are encouraged to forward suggestions for improving the system to the Program Liaison.
- Staff will not share their password with anyone. All staff are responsible for any activity that occurs under their log-in.
- If an authorized user forgets their password they will contact the Security Administrator to secure a temporary password.
- To preserve client privacy, staff will access and/or enter all client specific data at a private, office setting either on site, at the agency office or other sites as approved by the Security Administrator.
- Site Coordinators can access/or enter Program Plan information from other sites including at home or the public library.
- All youth will be entered into the system within five days of enrollment. The initial intake date and first day of contact will be the day that the parent first signed the permission to participate.
- All youth enrollments will include at a minimum the following information: participant's race, ethnicity, current grade level, and language preference. In addition, contact information for at least one parent and one emergency contact will be included.
- Grade data will be collected and recorded for each youth during the first grading period after enrollment, and each subsequent quarter afterward. School based sites will develop a plan to assure that they can access the data in a timely manner. Community based sites will mail, fax or hand deliver a packet of release of information forms to the school office at grading period.
All sites must keep an updated inventory list of items valued at $100 and with a useful life of 1 year or more. Items that do not meet this standard are not to be included on the inventory form.
No inventoried property can be disposed of without prior written authorization.
If a site discontinues Teen REACH services or chooses to dispose of an inventoried item purchased with Teen REACH funds the item reverts back to the Adams County Teen REACH program.
INTERNET BLOCKING SOFTWARE FOR YOUTH ACCESSIBLE PC'S
Each site will provide internet blocking software for all youth accessible computers that limits youth accessing sites that contain content such as sex, violence, hate and sub culture references. A staff person will monitor use of computers at all times.