Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza, to better protect children by adding school coaches to the the field of professionals required to report suspected abuse to authorities. This bill, (S.4751B/ A.421C) will also require coaches who currently hold or apply for a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate to complete two hours of training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment.
The law had previously been unclear on whether individuals in these positions must report suspected cases of abuse. This legislation clarifies that coaches who are paid employees of a school district have a duty to report suspected abuse. As with all mandated reporters, coaches will be protected from civil liability resulting from reports that are proven unfounded.
Senator Andrew Lanza said, "When a coach witnesses child abuse the crime should always be reported directly to law enforcement authorities. Our law enforcement professionals have the authority, expertise, and resources to investigate and prosecute criminal activity and the sooner they know about allegations of abuse the sooner justice can be done. With this type of crime, delay can mean more victims."
“This legislation is another step forward in New York’s fight against child abuse,” Governor Cuomo said. “With the proper training, and the clear mandate to report suspected instances of abuse, school coaches will play a crucial role in keeping our children safe and out of harm’s way.”
Assembly Member Paulin said, “Coaches are in a unique position of trust with their players, and this law will ensure that if a child confides in their coach or the coach observes signs of abuse, they will report it to the authorities. This will help protect children from abuse.”
The commissioner of education will prescribe regulations for this new training. Documentation of the completed coursework will be required to obtain and hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate, effective July 1, 2015.