Safety Practices

Head Start FAQs on iLookOut for Child Abuse

iLookOut provides an interactive, online professional development course for mandated reporters of child abuse. These FAQs answer questions about who should take the course and how to access it.

What is the iLookOut for Child Abuse (iLookOut) program?

iLookOut is designed specifically for early childhood staff and providers to promote a deeper understanding of how to protect children from abuse. This includes people who work as staff, consultants, and contractors or volunteer in Head Start programs, child care centers, and other early care and education settings.

iLookOut was created by a multi-disciplinary team of experts in child abuse, early childhood education, online learning, mandated reporter training, law, ethics, child advocacy, and instructional design. It is sponsored by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

You will receive .3 continuing education units (CEUs) or three contact hours for competing the course.

Why should I take the iLookOut course?

Everyone who works as a staff, consultant, or contractor in a Head Start program is a mandated reporter. A mandated reporter is required by law to report known or suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to their local child protective services agency.

The Office of Head Start is partnering with Penn State’s Center for the Protection of Children to make this course available to all adults who work or volunteer in a Head Start program. Course content supports the Head Start Standards of Conduct that ensure staff, consultants, contractors, and volunteers do not maltreat or endanger the health or safety of the children in their care.

What topics does the iLookOut course address?

The course covers a variety of topics critical to keeping children safe from abuse, including:

  • Signs, symptoms, and risk factors for abuse
  • The role of a mandated reporter, including how and when to respond to concerns of maltreatment, and how to understand reasonable suspicion and act when needed
  • Critical thinking on how to best support at risk children and their families
  • Cultural and other factors that may cause biased decision-making

Will the iLookOut course meet the mandated reporter training requirement in my jurisdiction?

Currently, there are two versions of the iLookOut mandated reporter training: the Head Start training and the state-specific training for Maine and Pennsylvania participants.

If you are located outside of Maine or Pennsylvania:

  • The Head Start iLookOut training may not satisfy your jurisdiction's mandated reporter training requirement.
  • Consult with state officials or the organization responsible for monitoring and approving mandated reporter training in your jurisdiction to confirm whether the Head Start iLookOut training will satisfy the mandated reporter requirement.

If you are located in Maine or Pennsylvania:

  • The Head Start iLookOut training will not satisfy your jurisdiction's mandated reporter training requirement because it does not have certain information required by these two states.
  • Only the state-specific iLookOut training will meet your state's mandated reporter training requirement.
  • If you have not completed the Maine or Pennsylvania iLookOut training, you will receive access to do so after you have completed the Head Start iLookOut training.

How do I take the iLookOut course?

The course is available on the Individualized Professional Development Portfolio (iPD), a free learning management system to support ongoing professional development for staff in Head Start and child care settings. To access the iPD, you must have an account on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC).

Can the Head Start iLookOut CEUs offered on the iPD be awarded retroactively to learners who previously took another iLookOut course?

No. Learners who took the Maine- or Pennsylvania-specific courses will need to take the Head Start course to earn CEU credit through the iPD. Learners who took the course previously on the iPD may contact the iPD Help Desk at to get a certificate.