Under Missouri law, people who are responsible for the care of children are required to report suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division. By virtue of our roles, Girl Scout troop volunteers are considered to be mandated reporters. As such, troop volunteers must act as the voice for children who may be experiencing abuse or neglect.
Volunteers must make a report if they or someone else has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect, or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.
A volunteer who reports a concern is not making an accusation, but simply requesting a professional service to intervene, in accordance with the law. Even if a volunteer is not completely sure if abuse or neglect is occurring, they should report their concerns anyway—always err on the side of the child. All information reported to the Children’s Division, including the identity of the reporter, is kept confidential.
While we hope our troop volunteers will never encounter situations of child abuse or neglect, they must be prepared to take on that responsibility. To that end, troop volunteers are strongly encouraged to complete the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Mandated Reporter Training. This course contains the link to the official online course sponsored by Missouri KidsFirst. Note that learners must register with Missouri KidsFirst before accessing the course on their website.
Course topics include:
To report abuse or neglect concerns to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division, call the 24-hour Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect hotline at 800.392.3738 or follow the nearby link to the online reporting system for non-emergencies.
If a child is in immediate danger, call 911. Mandated reporters may also contact the local police department, but doing so does not relieve them of the legal obligation to report their concern to the Children’s Division.
To receive additional support when reporting potential abuse or neglect, please contact your Community Engagement Manager or Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Risk Management at 314.592.2300.
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri has zero tolerance for any instances of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and/or molestation of any individual. Any staff member, volunteer, or independent contractor found to have engaged in any such activity will be terminated from their employment, volunteer role, and/or any other affiliation they have with Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri will also pursue any and all legal actions warranted in the event of an instance of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and/or molestation.
Missouri law states that if any person with the responsibility for the care of children has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect, that person shall immediately report to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division. Mandated reporters include Girl Scout volunteers and staff.
All concerns about sexual abuse, physical abuse, or molestation should also be reported to the Senior Manager, Risk Management, or the Director of Risk Management. In the event one of those staff members is not available, any such concerns should be reported to any other member of management of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Reports of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or molestation will be investigated.
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri will not allow or tolerate any form of retaliation against individuals who report suspected instances of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or molestation or who cooperate in the Council’s investigation of such reports.
1 From the American Psychological Association. See here
2 From the American Psychological Association. See here
3 From the American Psychological Association. See here
Further information about reporting child abuse and neglect may be found in Volunteer Essentials.
More information about the responsibilities of mandated reporters may be found in the Missouri Children’s Division Guidelines for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.