Community Protocols

In the first half of 1997, Rowan County lost the lives of four young children to the savage hands of abuse. These children were, in varying degrees, already involved with our social service system. Our community, outraged at this futile loss of life, created a task force to examine the existing child abuse prevention system in hopes of finding and fixing any problems that may have contributed to these deaths.

Created by the Rowan County Commissioners, this task force includes the top executives of agencies and organizations across the county. They have each signed a letter of agreement attached to this document in order to pledge support for this Rowan County Protocol for Child Abuse Prevention. The assignments of this task force was to examine the existing abuse prevention network, find problems within or outside that existing structure, create solutions to problems discovered, and provide an annual public report regarding the state of our child abuse prevention system to the County Commissioners and the citizens of this community.

In early meetings, the task force recognized that a lack of communication between agencies was the root of many of the problems identified. The task force set out to create the Community Protocol for Child Abuse Prevention that is included in this manual. The task force also recognized that any plan needs to outlast its creators if it is to have long term effectiveness. With this in mind, the Rowan County Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the first Monday in April as "Remember Our Children Day" and had affixed as a reminder in the Commissioner's meeting room a plaque that reads: The first Monday in April is the day selected by the community's leaders in 1997 to forevermore remember the children of Rowan County and to review the child abuse prevention network we have put in place to protect them. It is the responsibility of the Chairman of this Board of Commissioners to insure this task is done.

WHY A COMMUNITY PROTOCOL?



As each group involved works under different legal and operational constraints, it was impossible to create a set of rules that would apply equally to every member involved in this protocol. With the community protocol, we have attempted to create agreed upon "connection points" for the individual policies and monitoring policies to determine the continued efficiency of this system.

ROLE OF EACH PARTNER



As members of this community, we are all partners in child abuse prevention. Some partners, such as the Rowan County Department of Social Services and the criminal justice system, are recipients of abuse reports while most others, such as private citizens, teachers, and health care professionals, are reporters of information concerning abuse. The following protocol should clarify the roles of the various partners in helping prevent child abuse or intervening when it does occur.

ANNUAL REVIEW



This protocol should be reviewed, amended and updated annually by the task force during a Community Child Protection Team meeting. Signatures from all participating agencies should be obtained in agreement with the changes made each year and for the purposes of meeting requirements of a “Memorandum of Agreement” between the partnering agencies and the Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center. After the review and revision process, the task force will report to the Commissioners at their regular board meeting scheduled for the first Monday in April. The Rowan County Department of Social Services Director will be assisted by other task force members in the presentation of this report. The task force may elect to meet more often if deemed necessary by the task force or the County Commissioners. Each agency shall ensure that all of its workers (new and old) are aware of the Protocol and the procedures listed herein.

A copy of this Protocol shall be maintained in the following offices: Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Rowan County Sheriff s Department, Guardian ad Litem Office, Rowan County District Attorney's Office, Rowan County Department of Social Services, Rowan/Salisbury School System (Office of the Board of Education), Kannapolis City School System, and the Kannapolis, Salisbury, China Grove, Landis, Cleveland, Granite Quarry-Faith, Rockwell, East Spencer and Spencer Police Departments.

Community Child Protection Protocol