The Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) have had conversation regarding educational neglect and how to better provide supports to educators on this topic due to an abundance of calls to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline. This resource is meant to provide additional insight. First and foremost, it is an educator's job to report any suspicion of neglect to the DCS hotline immediately. Regarding educational neglect and when it meets legal sufficiency to screen-in for an assessment, there are several factors the caseworkers consider. To best understand, it is important to know the structured decision making tool's (SDM) definition of educational neglect. This is the tool the hotline staff uses when they take a report.
A child age 5 or 6 is currently or was previously enrolled in school, and the parent is now refusing to allow or failing to support the child in attending school or receiving homeschooling. Consider number of absences in the current year (less than 10 unexcused absences should not be considered educational neglect), attempts to engage the parents, and parents’ response to these attempts.
A child is age 7-12 and there is unreasonable delay, refusal, or failure on the part of the caregiver to seek, obtain, and/or maintain education for the child. Consider number of absences in the current year (less than 10 unexcused absences should not be considered educational neglect), attempts to engage the parents, and parents’ response to these attempts.
A child is age 13 or older, enrolled in school, and not attending to the extent that educational neglect is present.
- Child has over ten (10) unexcused absences during the current school year;
- Caregiver has been made aware of the situation; AND
- Information provided indicates that the caregiver refuses to allow or appears unable to support the child in attending school
Structured Decision Making Tool (SDM)
Example Hotline Calls and Positive Engagement Options to Consider
Community Partners for Child Safety
Every time DCS intervenes it may result in more trauma to the family and child. As an agency, both at the hotline and local office level, take careful consideration that they are providing DCS intervention for the right child, at the right time with the right services. A family may have some needs, but those needs may not merit a DCS response. For those situations, please review a statewide resource called Community Partners for Child Safety. Community Partners is a free service that provides home based case management services to connect families to resources to strengthen the family and prevent child abuse and neglect. Families can be referred by a community resource, such as schools, or even refer themselves. For more information on Community Partners and how to refer for your county, please click here.
Coping With Covid-19
Indiana State Dept. of Health (ISDH) COVID-19 Call Center: 877-826-0011. Available to the public, 24/7.
Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-800-800-5556. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the hotline 24/7. You can report abuse and neglect anonymously. Available to the public, 24/7.
211: A free and confidential service that helps Hoosiers find local resources. Dial 2-1-1 to connect with a navigator 24/7 or visit online.