In my recent experiences providing crisis counseling for child abuse investigations, I was shocked to learn that in many instances, even though the child had interacted with their local fire department, no child abuse reports were ever made. Knowing there had been visible injuries and obvious signs of neglect, I couldn't understand why that was. After some research, I learned only 5 states recognize firefighters as mandated reporters and train them as such. That means firefighters in 45 states don’t receive any mandatory education on recognition or reporting.
The fact that the abuse was not reported is unacceptable to me and should be unacceptable to all of us. Anyone can report suspected abuse as a permissive reporter. All 50 states recognize EMS workers as mandated reporters, but many may be unfamiliar with their role in the process. At On the Job and Off we want to ensure that all first responders are educated to recognize the signs of child abuse, neglect and trafficking and are equipped to report it correctly.
All first responders are in a unique position to encounter abused children. Though always important, this issue is particularly relevant now. Due to the pandemic, abused and at-risk children are spending more time in their homes where the abuse occurs and aren’t interacting with usual mandated reporters like their teachers.
On the Job and Off is uniquely positioned to offer this self-paced education program that includes a component of webinars with subject matter experts to add context and depth to the topic. The curriculum will be comprehensive for those who are approaching this topic for the first time, and an excellent refresher to those who aren't.
This course is available now and is free for all first responders.