today for work, i was scheduled to attend a training session called "mandatory reporting". since i work in the public sector and i work for children (as a child support collections officer) i am mandated by state law to "make a child protection report if [I] know or have reason to believe that: a child is being neglected or abused; or has been neglected or abused in the preceding three years".(quote from the handbook passed out at meeting). since i had the statute right in front of me i decided to see who else is mandated to report suspected abuse. specifically i was thinking about the silentlambs and jw elders....so here is what i found under the section "persons mandated to report" (M.S. 626.556 subd. 3):
(2) employed as a member of the clergy and received the information while engaged in ministerial duties, provided that a member of the clergy is not required by this subdivision to report information that is otherwise privileged under section 595.02, subdivision 1, paragraph (c).
see: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/626/556.html for full body of the statute
okay, so i'm thinking, "employed" hmm, does that exclude JW elders since they are volunteers and not paid by the WTS? also, what does this other statute say about privileged information? well, i don't know about my first question since i'm not sure if WTS legal department tells elders in minnesota they need to report suspected abuse or not...anyone here know if this is the case in minnesota?? as for the priviledged information, i looked that up and here is what i found (M.S. 595.02 subd. 1)
(c) A member of the clergy or other minister of any religion shall not, without the consent of the party making the confession, be allowed to disclose a confession made to the member of the clergy or other minister in a professional character, in the course of discipline enjoined by the rules or practice of the religious body to which the member of the clergy or other minister belongs; nor shall a member of the clergy or other minister of any religion be examined as to any communication made to the member of the clergy or other minister by any person seeking religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort or advice given thereon in the course of the member of the clergy's or other minister's professional character, without the consent of the person.
so, what does this mean for jw victims of child abuse in minnesota? i'm not sure since i don't know what wts legal instructs the elders to do but it would seem to me that the elders would NOT have to report known or suspected abuse and be protected under the law. first, they are not employed clergy and second, anything they learn under "confession" would be privledged information(if i'm reading the second statute quoted correctly). anyone else done any research into what their state laws say about mandotory reporting?
and a side note here:
also in this training session, the speaker mentioned religious and cultural differences and how we (child advocates) needed to be aware of some of these in our dealings with the public. she went on the point out that "some people refuse blood transfusions due to religious belief" my ears perked up at this...she went on to say "in that case, CPS (child protection services) will go to a jugde and get a court order to transfuse." i wanted to stand up and clap! i'm happy that the state feels it has a right to interfere in those cases involving minor children.
okay, well that's all..lol, happy friday everyone
"Power doesn't mean you're acting like a man, or you're a bully or a bitch. It's that you don't let people step on you"