Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Child abuse-Law and legislation-Massachusetts, School psychologists-Legal status, laws, etc.-Massachusetts, Social workers-Legal status, laws, etc.-Massachusetts, Mandated reporting, School counselors, Abuse


This study explored the experiences of mental health clinicians who work in schools as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. These clinicians included school psychologists, adjustment counselors, social workers, and licensed mental health counselors who work in schools. This study used the narratives of 12 clinicians in order to understand what they go through when they have a suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected. This study found that clinicians sometimes hesitate when deciding whether or not to report suspected abuse. Some of the clinicians felt that there were no questions to be asked, and that the law is clearly stated about when to report child abuse or neglect, but others wanted to better know what the implications for the child or family might be is a report of abuse was filed. Many of the clinicians felt that because the Department of Children and Families is overworked and underpaid they may not be able to give adequate care to the children and families in need of services from them. The clinicians involved in this study were able to share their experiences, and concerns. They talked about different stories of when they reported, and they talked about conflicts that they may have had with those whom they were required to talk to before reporting. This research supports many past studies that have been done quantitatively by bringing the narratives of those who have experienced reporting child abuse to the Department of Children and Families.




iii, 63 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 53-55)