BOSTON – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Attorney General Maura Healey have announced that a Recertification Course is now available for mandated reporters who have previously completed the Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center’s online mandated reporter training (“OMRT”) designed to fulfill the state’s training requirement for professionally licensed mandated reporters to recognize and report suspected child abuse, neglect and exploitation. The Recertification Course was designed for users who want or need to update their certification.
These trainings are the only comprehensive, free online trainings available on this topic to the public in the Commonwealth.
“Many of the cases that our office prosecutes each year were referred to us because a doctor, teacher or nurse observed what they believed to be indicators of child abuse or neglect and took the necessary steps to report it,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The Recertification Course is another resource that mandated reporters can access to continue to stay up-to-date on new legislative developments and to reinforce their existing knowledge of how to properly relay information that may assist children who are subjected to abuse.”
“Mandated reporters play a vital role in protecting children across Massachusetts,” said Attorney General Healey. “This recertification training expands the important work that District Attorney Ryan and the Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center are doing to provide mandated reporters with the tools they need to recognize and respond to abuse and neglect.”
The Massachusetts Legislature has designated teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses, child care providers, police officers, foster parents and others as mandated reporters. The training has been updated to include information about the Department of Children and Families’ new protective intake and supervisor policies, parental discipline, educational neglect and medical neglect.
The Recertification Course is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance. To achieve recertification, the user will be asked to demonstrate their competence and understanding of their obligations under the 51A Law by completing and passing an evaluation consisting of 50 questions. The questions were designed to refresh users’ memories about key points of the 51A Law and are based on the information learned in the original OMRT. As with the OMRT, the Recertification Course is available through Google Translation in 23 languages making it accessible to even more mandated reporters across the state.
Although anyone who suspects a child is being maltreated can, and should, file a 51A Report with the Department of Children and Families, mandated reporters are required by law to do so. Since the launch of 2016 version of the training, over 100,000 trainings have been completed.
All mandated reporters who are professionally licensed by the Commonwealth are required by law to receive training, like this one, on recognizing and reporting suspected child maltreatment.
The free OMRT program, which takes about 45 minutes to complete, and the Recertification Course, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, are available at http://51a.middlesexcac.org/.
The Middlesex Child Advocacy Center (MCAC), incorporated in 1995, works in collaboration with the Child Protection Unit of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. The MCAC is dedicated to minimizing secondary trauma to child victims by streamlining the handling of cases of child sexual abuse, serious child physical abuse, and child exploitation. Composed of a multi-disciplinary team, the approach taken by the MCAC reduces the number of investigative interviews and court appearances for the victim, allows for services to be more quickly and effectively coordinated for the victim, and ensures that the team has the appropriate information to reach results in the best interest of each child. Recognizing that these cases warrant special attention and expertise beyond that which any one professional can provide, the MCAC brings together a group of professionals from specific, distinct disciplines to collaborate, broaden the knowledge base from which decisions are made, and improve communication between the agencies necessarily involved in such cases.