Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Schools are designed to be safe and healthy places for children to grow and learn, and principals are the instructional leader charged with creating this climate. The role of the mandated reporter, which is the role assigned to all individuals who work in schools, is intended to protect children. The mandated reporter is supposed to be the voice for children-not just for the child who actually speaks out against the individual who is perpetrating against them, but also for the child who does not have the words to report the abuse. A suspicion is all a mandated reporter needs to make the call to DCFS. This study sought to discover the following research questions: 1) How do building principals perceive their role in the mandated reporting process in elementary schools (K-8) in three suburban counties in Illinois? 2) What types of policies and procedures do districts have in place concerning mandated reporting and child maltreatment? 3) How do principals implement these policies in their school buildings when it comes to mandated reporting and child maltreatment detection? 4) What components do principals perceive to be essential to improve mandated reporting structures? This study was conducted within three counties in suburban Illinois and employed both qualitative and quantitative information and utilized two instruments created by the researcher, the Building Principal Mandated Reporting Questionnaire and a semi-structured principal interview protocol. Further analysis was completed post-data collection due to a finding that 26% of the respondents did not strictly adhere to the law according to one of the responses on the questionnaire. The current state of mandated reporting in schools is discussed as well as steps schools can take to better support mandated reporters. Further research on this topic is needed on a broader scale and with principals from outside of Illinois.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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