University Reporting Protocol: Child Abuse and Other Harm to Children
Last updated 7/1/2021 (see bottom for details)
The University strives to offer a safe and supportive learning and working environment for all individuals. In support of that goal, the University has established reporting protocols for its employees and volunteers to promote the safety and security of children.
These protocols apply to all employees and volunteers who are performing services for the University. This may include individuals who fall within one or more of the following classifications: executive management, faculty, academic staff, support staff (including regular, temporary, and on-call), student employee, graduate student employee (including teaching assistant, research assistant, and lab assistant), post-doctoral fellow, leased employee, contract employee, or volunteer.
- Child: An individual under 18 years of age.
- Child Abuse: Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare or by a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the clergy.
- Child Neglect: Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare that occurs through either of the following:
- Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
- Placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child’s health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk.
- Child Sexually Abusive Material: Any depiction which is of a child or appears to include a child engaging in sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, passive sexual involvement, sexual excitement, or erotic nudity.
- Mandated Reporters: Certain professionals who are required by Michigan law to report suspected child abuse or neglect. An individual employed in any of the following professions is considered a mandated reporter:
- Physician's assistant
- Registered dental hygienist
- Medical examiner
- Licensed emergency medical care provider
- Marriage and family therapist
- Licensed professional counselor
- Social worker
- Licensed master's social worker
- Licensed bachelor's social worker
- Registered social service technician
- Social service technician
- A person employed in a professional capacity in any office of the Friend of the Court
- Law enforcement officer
- Member of the clergy
- Regulated child care provider
- School administrator
- School teacher
- School counselor
IV. Reporting Protocols
A. Harm to a Child
- Employees or volunteers must act immediately when, in the context of their role at the University, they observe, suspect, or receive an allegation of harm to a child.
- Dial 9-1-1 to connect to the police if you require immediate emergency assistance, believe a crime is in progress, or believe that a child is in immediate danger.
- For a non-emergency situation, contact the MSU Police Department at (517) 355-2221.
B. Child Abuse or Child Neglect
- Mandated Reporters: Employees or volunteers who are defined as mandated reporters and who suspect child abuse or neglect must report to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (“MDHHS”), Child Protective Services (“CPS”) immediately by:
- Calling 855-444-3911 with a verbal report and then filing a written report with MDHHS/CPS within 72 hours; or
- Reporting online through the Michigan Online Reporting System.
Information about reporting abuse and neglect can be found under the Abuse & Neglect section of the MDHHS website at www.michigan.gov/mdhhs.
- Other Individuals: Employees or volunteers who are not defined as mandated reporters and who suspect a child may be abused or neglected must contact the MSU Police Department immediately. The MSU Police will file a report with MDHHS/CPS regarding the suspected child abuse or neglect.
- Employees or volunteers who file a report directly with MDHHS/CPS involving suspected child abuse or neglect occurring on campus or involving a member of the University community must notify the MSU Police Department of that report.
- Physicians and other health professionals should follow established reporting protocols for child abuse/neglect.
C. Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence
Employees and volunteers must also report incidents that include domestic violence, sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, incest or statutory rape), stalking or retaliation to the Office of Institutional Equity, as required in the University Reporting Protocol: Relationship Violence, Sexual Misconduct, and Stalking.
D. Child Sexually Abusive Material
Employees or volunteers who become aware of suspected child sexually abusive material on MSU IT Resources or in the possession of an MSU employee or volunteer must contact the MSU Police Department immediately, unless such information is protected by a legally recognized privilege.
Employees or volunteers who fail to report suspected child abuse, child neglect, child sexually abusive material, or other harm to a child may be subject to disciplinary or corrective action, up to and including dismissal. Employees or volunteers who are considered “mandated reporters” under State law may also be subject to civil and criminal penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
- Employees and volunteers are encouraged to review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that accompanies this document and provides answers to common questions.
- Employees and volunteers who work with children are encouraged to review the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services website for information about recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect.
- Employees and volunteers should read and become familiar with the University’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy.
- Employees and volunteers are encouraged to review the online Resources on the Safety of Minors at Michigan State University guide edited by the MSU Libraries.
- Employees and volunteers are encouraged to review the online Resources for Reporting Suspected Crimes located on the MSU Youth Programs: Registration, Safety Assurance, and Education website.
VII. Contact Information
- MSU Police Department
1120 Red Cedar Road
East Lansing, MI 48824
- OIE / Title IX Coordinator
408 W. Circle Drive, Room 4
East Lansing, MI 48824
- Michigan Department of Human Services
Report Abuse & Neglect Hotline
Frequently Asked Questions about University Protocols
Mandated Reporters' Resource Guide
This document was issued by the Office of the President on January 28, 2013 and revised on July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2021.