Northwestern updates child abuse prevention policies

Joseph Diebold, Campus Editor

Northwestern has updated its child abuse prevention policies to better align them with Illinois law, the University announced Monday.

The policy now requires all NU employees — even those who do not have regular contact with children — to acknowledge their status under state law as “mandatory reporters” of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. All employees coming into contact with children must undergo a mandatory training.

Pam Beemer, associate vice president for human resources, led the University’s Child Protection and Safety Task Force. Beemer said the University attempted to make the new requirements as easy as possible on employees.

“We understand that requiring that each employee of the University to complete the DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status form is a new obligation,” Beemer said in a news release. “However, it is required by state law, and we have made it as easy as possible by having the form available online.”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services launched its “You Are Not Alone” campaign last month, in an effort aimed at curbing child abuse by publicizing efforts in schools.

Under the policy, any member of the University community with reasonable cause to believe a child may be abused or neglected is required to notify the department. In emergencies, they are also required to notify University or Evanston police.

“Northwestern is committed to the safety and security of everyone on our campuses, both members of our community and visitors, and especially children,” Beemer said. “We hope everyone will join us in these important efforts.”

— Joseph Diebold