Safety Practices

Child Abuse and Neglect

An adult kneeling down to talk to a child who appears to be sad.Everyone who works in Head Start and Early Head Start programs is a mandated reporter. Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect can protect children and help children and families connect to services. Use these resources to learn more on child abuse or neglect and to find training opportunities.

Head Start Requirements for Staff and Consultants

Staff in Head Start and Early Head Start programs are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate child protection agency. The following regulations outline the requirements:

Programs must have internal procedures in place when a staff member or volunteer causes an incident or suspected incident. Some states include volunteers in their mandated reporting laws. Information on how state laws define mandatory reporters is available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

iLookOut for Child Abuse: A Mandated Reporter Training for Head Start Staff

Logo for iLookOutThe Office of Head Start is partnering with the Penn State Center for the Protection of Children to offer a Head Start version of iLookOut for Child Abuse (iLookOut), an interactive, online research-based mandated reporter professional development course.

iLookOut for Child Abuse is now available on the Individualized Professional Development (iPD) Portfolio. Learners may earn three continuing education units (CEUs) for successfully completing the course. At this time, only the state-specific version of iLookOut (and not the Head Start version) will satisfy the mandated reporter state requirements for Head Start staff who live in Pennsylvania or Maine.

Check out the FAQs and watch the webinar to learn more about this course:

Head Start Resources About Child Abuse

Explore resources about prevention and reporting of child abuse and neglect.

Additional Resources