New Webinar Series Tackles Educational Neglect and Truancy in the time of COVID-19

New Webinar Series Tackles Educational Neglect and Truancy in the time of COVID-19

There has always been a fine line, especially with older students, between educational neglect and truancy. But in a time of remote education and COVID-19, that line is finer still.

That’s the subject of the first in a monthly series of webinars by, a website focused on giving authoritative information to mandated reporters. Each month, DRBK will present a webinar focused on some issue of importance to mandated reporters. The first two of those webinars and their dates have been announced:

  • Educational Neglect: Finding the fine line between educational neglect and truancy is even harder in a virtual world; 3:30 p.m. October 22, 2020

  • I can’t unsee that: Identifying abuse and neglect in a virtual classroom: November 18 – Time TBD

Each webinar will be hosted by staff from Monroe County’s Division of Human Services and  will feature a presentation and open discussion. Attendance at a webinar requires pre-registration here. (

The first webinar, on educational neglect during the pandemic, will touch on these subjects:

  • What to look for: the red flags of educational neglect
  • Standards of evidence for a CPS report to be indicated
  • The things a parent does or doesn’t do that create educational neglect
  • Definitions of neglect, truancy, and relevant law
  • Primary prevention and the need to engage the parents before calling in a neglect report.
  • Documents CPS will need to establish educational neglect

Webinars are limited to the first 25 registrants, in an attempt to foster better conversations.

“It’s our objective to engage in a productive conversation with mandated reporters on these issues,”  said Julie Nichols, administrator of Monroe County CPS. “Most of the time, our contacts with mandated reporters are about specific cases, where our ability to speak is limited by confidentiality requirements. It’s our hope that these webinars will provide an opportunity for both mandated reporters and CPS to learn from the experience.”



Neglect occurs when a parent (or person legally responsible) fails to provide a minimum level of care by doing something that inflicts harm, allows harm to be inflicted, or creates an imminent danger of harm. The harm, however, does not result in the kind of serious physical injury that is defined as physical abuse.


What Situations Should Raise a ‘Red Flag’ for Me? What Signs Should I Look For?

If a child is being abused or neglected, there can be physical signs or ways in which the child behaves; these are known as physical and behavioral indicators. When you see a child with one or more of these indicators, it should raise a ‘red flag’ in your mind about the child’s welfare and prompt you to inquire further.

However, these indicators are not proof of abuse or neglect. A child’s bruises could be the result of a playground accident, while a dirty and disheveled child may be homeless.

The law requires that you have a reasonable suspicion that the indicator(s) you see could be caused by child abuse or neglect before you call. To establish a reasonable suspicion—or to rule out the possibility of abuse or neglect—you need to ask questions about the circumstances surrounding the indicators. You need to assess the location, severity, circumstances, and frequency of the injuries or behaviors. You need to consider the child’s age and the explanation provided.

If the information you gather causes you to form a reasonable suspicion that the child is a victim of abuse or neglect, call the Child Abuse Hotline. If you are not sure about what you need to ask, call for click here.