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Friday, January 27, 2023

After the death of Olivia Gunter, regulators said Colorado’s child abuse reporting laws should be strengthened

Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman said in a new report on Wednesday that Colorado’s laws requiring reports of suspected child abuse should be strengthened after 7-year-old Olivia Ganter died of suspected medical abuse. Released later.

The country’s “outdated” and “ineffective” mandatory reporting laws should be amended to clarify the employer’s role in the reporting process, determine the specific timetable for reporting suspected abuse to the country, and require standardized training for all professionals and child protection inspections Staff member Stephanie Villafuerte suggested in a 7-page briefing who has a legal obligation to report abuse.

“In order for Colorado law to be effective and to protect children, the law must clearly specify who must report so that valuable information will not be missed. Those who fail to report suspected child abuse may be held accountable,” the report said. road.

In an interview, Villafurt said that the death of Olivia Gant in 2017 highlighted the long-standing “fault line” in the state’s child abuse reporting law. Before her death, Olivia was a long-term patient at the Colorado Children’s Hospital. The authorities believed that the girl’s mother, Kelly Turner, had faked Olivia’s disease and manipulated doctors and nurses to perform unnecessary medical procedures. Turner was charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.

An investigation by the Denver Post this spring found that some doctors and nurses at the Colorado Children’s Hospital expressed concern about the medical abuse of Olivia’s mother, but it was not until more than a year after the Olivia incident that the hospital Only then reported their suspicions to the state’s Department of Public Services. Although the state mandated a reporting law that required anyone suspected of being abused to “immediately” report to law enforcement or the state, he died.

The medical service provider of the Children’s Hospital did not do so. The Post found that, instead, the hospital investigated these issues internally, and its internal child protection team decided that there was no need to report the provider’s concerns to external authorities. The process appears to follow the 2016 hospital policy, which instructs employees to report abuse issues to the hospital’s internal review team, rather than directly to external authorities.

Villafuerte said this approach is not uncommon. Many institutions, such as hospitals and schools, require employees to report suspected abuse of authority to the internal chain of command to their superiors. This “organizational report” can help facilities track reports, provide time and support for employees to report during overtime, and reduce duplication of reports. But it can also cause problems and delays, Villafuerte said, especially if supervisors prevent or prevent employees from reporting suspicions of abuse, or if internal processes are cumbersome or time-consuming.

“It is unclear what the role of the agency is,” she said. “Are they the messenger of the information, or the arbiter of the information? That’s why other states have laws. To be clear, if you do have an (internal) process, you must prevent persuasion.”

Colorado’s current mandatory reporting law requires individuals in nearly 40 professions ranging from veterinarians to pastors to report suspected abuse to the state government or law enforcement agencies.

But the law remains silent on agency reports, which allows employers of all kinds to develop a hodgepodge of internal policies for employees trying to report abuse. Some employees give the impression that individuals who report them to their supervisor suspect that they have fulfilled their legal obligation to report abuses-but this is not clearly stipulated in the law.

Villafurt said that agency reports are happening, but there is no guardrail on how to deal with it in the law.

“If you look at the other state laws that I have done, they are very clear, to the extent that employees must report to supervisors or administrative directors, the role of the facility at this point is to support employees, not to change their minds,” she Say.

World Nation News Desk
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