LAFAYETTE -- Officials have adopted a policy to ensure city employees are aware of their duty to report child abuse in the wake of a mandated reporting investigation that rocked the city of Walnut Creek this year.
The policy approved by the City Council on Tuesday requires that designated city employees who have regular contact with children fulfill their duties as outlined by state mandated reporting laws.
The council approved the guidelines as part of its consent calendar, one of a number of such approvals approved in one motion unless a council member or member of the public requests a separate discussion. No such request was made Tuesday.
The administrative regulation lays out procedures mandated reporters -- who include all police and recreation department employees and volunteers -- must follow to comply with state laws requiring they report observed or suspected child abuse to local law enforcement.
It also directs mandated reporters to report abuse or neglect to their supervisor, manager or the administrative services director. Employees, officials and volunteers who aren't designated mandated reporters and required to make external reports must still make an internal report. Mandated reporters are required to sign an acknowledgment of their obligations, and must also complete training upon hire or rehire.
Administrative Services Director Tracy Robinson said last week that the city has always complied with state mandated reporting laws, but felt that a formal policy was necessary "for informing people about what their duties are."
Robinson acknowledged that a mandated reporting investigation involving Walnut Creek city employees played a part in the city's decision to propose the formal policy. That investigation probed actions of employees, including the city's human resources director and its arts, recreation and community services director, after learning a Lesher Center for the Arts employee was suspected of inappropriate sexual contact with minors. Walnut Creek City Manager Ken Nordhoff signed off on such a policy Nov. 7. The policy does not have to be adopted by the city council, according to city staff.
"I can say that what happened in Walnut Creek provided a really good reminder to us that we should probably have a written policy," Robinson said.
Lafayette's new guidelines went into effect immediately.