Child Abuse and Neglect Information
The Montgomery County Board of Education approved changes to Policy JHC Child Abuse and Neglect. The policy guides Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) procedures and protocols for recognizing, reporting, and preventing suspected child abuse and neglect of students.
Read the policy
Over the last year, MCPS has engaged in a multipronged, multidisciplinary effort to implement new practices, procedures, and protocols to ensure students have a safe environment to learn.
This effort includes—
- updated mandatory training of all full-time employees on recognizing and reporting child abuse;
- the development of the Employee Code of Conduct, a document that summarizes the legitimate standards of conduct that MCPS and the broader community expect employees to follow;
- new and additional lessons in the health and counseling curriculum to empower students to recognize and report suspected cases of abuse;
- the rollout of updated background checks for employees hired before September 2013 to match the thorough checks performed on all employees hired after that date;
- mandatory fingerprinting and background checks for contractors as well as overnight volunteer chaperones for the Outdoor Environmental Education Programs;
- greater collaboration with our county partner agencies, including a multidisciplinary team with representatives from Child Protective Services, the State’s Attorney’s Office, Montgomery County Attorney's Office, the Special Victims Unit of the Montgomery County Police Department, and the Tree House Child Assessment Center of Montgomery County, Maryland;
- workshops for parents on recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect;
- and the establishment of a core team of senior MCPS leaders to ensure Policy JHC is implemented with fidelity
Additionally, prior to the start of the 2016–2017 school year, MCPS will enhance its training for volunteers and contractors with the rollout of an online training module on preventing, recognizing, and reporting child abuse and neglect.
MCPS has been regularly updating the Board of Education on the implementation process. These updates include a July 20, 2016, summary of cases reported to Child Protective Services (CPS). As the report notes, there was an anticipated increase in reports to CPS due to our efforts to significantly increase awareness about this topic, and our explicit direction to staff to err on the side of reporting, when in doubt. The vast majority of reports did not involve MCPS employees, volunteers, or contractors, and for the 345 reports that did, 93 percent were either screened out (there was insufficient evidence that abuse or neglect occurred) or ruled out (a finding that abuse or neglect did not occur.) The majority of the remainder were pending review as of June 30, 2016 (15 reports) while just 1 percent (5 reports) have been indicated (a finding that there is credible evidence, which has not been satisfactorily refuted, that abuse or neglect occurred).
MCPS has made significant progress in the implementation of Policy JHC. We continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent, recognize, and report child abuse.
Read the July 20, 2016 memorandum to the Board
Child Abuse and Neglect FAQs
This website contains important information about the steps MCPS is taking to ensure that all students are safe; that all MCPS staff understand their reporting obligations; and that any allegations of misconduct are investigated in full compliance with all applicable laws and Board of Education Policy JHC.