Keeping Children Safe, Executive Order #54 Training

This Training will help you understand your obligations for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. The online training will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. After reviewing the materials, click "Take the Test". Answer each quiz question with the most correct answer. You will need to achieve 100% on the quiz to complete the training, and you can take the quiz more than once. After you achieve 100% on the quiz, an email of "Executive Order #54 Training Completion Certificate" will be sent to you and to the Human Resources Office and placed in your personnel file.

Thank you for taking this required training. Please contact the Human Resources Office if you have any questions.

Why are we here?

  • To help ensure the safety of children and youth.
  • To meet parents' expectations.
  • To learn how to comply with newly enacted Executive Order #54 and other legal requirements.

At this session you will learn...

  • Executive Order #54
  • Important Definitions
  • Warning Sign and Symptoms of Child Maltreatment
  • Reporting Guidelines

At this session you WILL NOT learn...

  • How to investigate child abuse and neglect. This is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services and the police.
  • Everything there is know about abuse or neglect. You must use your judgment.

Executive Order #54

  • All University of Wisconsin System (UWS) employees (this includes all UW-Superior employees) must immediately report child abuse or neglect if, in the course of employment, a UW-Superior employee:
    • observes an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, or
    • learns of an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect and has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur.

Who should report?

  • All UW-Superior employees, regardless of appointment type or method of compensation, are REQUIRED to report.
    • Faculty, Academic Staff, Classified Staff, LTEs, Student Employees, Individuals without an appointment who are paid through PIR
  • Volunteers who are independent contractors on the UW-Superior campus or participating in UW-Superior sponsored programs are STRONGLY encouraged to report.
  • Individuals who are mandatory reports under Chapter 48 or the Children's Code (teachers, physicians, social workers, etc.), must follow reporting obligations of Chapter 48.

Reporting Guidelines

  • You MUST report child abuse or neglect to either the Department of Health and Human Services, the Superior Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department or to the UW-Superior Department of Public Safety.
  • If the abuse or neglect occurs in connection with a UW-Superior activity or at UW-Superior, you must also report it to the Campus Safety Office and to the Affirmative Action office if it involves a potential sexual misconduct.
  • Making a report involving a suspected victim who is age of 18 or over may violate various privacy laws.
  • You may share information only with appropriate individuals, such as law enforcement personnel, social/human services personnel, appropriate University officials, and need-to-know co-workers.

What abuse or neglect should be reported?

  • EO #54 mandates the reporting of abuse or neglect that a child experiences in a UW-Superior sponsored program and abuse or neglect that a child experiences off campus, including abuse or neglect by the child's parents, at home.
  • If, during the course of your university employment, you develop a reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused at home or elsewhere, you must make a report.

You are mandated to report, what does this mean?

  • You are responsible for making sure that the suspicion is reported.
  • You are reporting with reasonable suspicion that abuse or neglect is occurring... YOU DO NOT NEED PROOF.
  • With the many and varied cultures in our diverse university community, we are often confronted with different child rearing and disciplinary techniques.
  • You are mandated, however, to report conduct that meets the definitions of abuse or neglect in EO #54, without regard to cultural differences.
  • DH&HS and law enforcement do take cultural practices into consideration after they receive a report

To Whom do you make a report?

  • Local law enforcement or a county social services agency:
  • In the event of an emergency:
    • 9 - 911 from a campus phone
    • 911 off campus phone
  • In the event of a non-emergency:

What happens when you make a report?

  • The Police may take action or refer to the Department of Health and Human Services
  • DHH&S may ask you questions and may:
    • Screen a report out (doesn't meet definition of abuse or neglect and will take no further action).
    • Refer to another jurisdiction or agency.
  • DHH&S may:
    • Offer services to the family; and
    • Probably won't provide you information.

Immunity for making a report

  • You're protected from liability if you make a report in good faith.
  • Immunity from liability applies to those who are required to report and those who choose to report (e.g. non-UW System employees).
  • EO #54 protects UW-Superior employees from adverse job action for making a report in good faith.

What does immediate mean?


  • You SHOULD NOT DELAY making a report in order to gather evidence; the agency to whom you make the report will determine whether such an investigation is warranted
  • It is acceptable to quickly collect additional information that is readily available (such as talking to coworkers who also interact with that child) or to verify that information learned meets criteria for reporting, but that must be done very promptly.


  • It is better to report without all relevant information than to delay to collect information.

How do you make a report?

  • In person or by telephone.
  • To local law enforcement or Health and Human Services Department

Definition of a "child"

  • A "child" is a person who is less than 18 years or age.

Definition of "Abuse"

  • "Abuse" of a child or youth includes the following categories:
    • Physical abuse
    • Sexual abuse
    • Emotional abuse
    • Manufacture of methamphetamine

Definition of "Physical Abuse"

  • Physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means.
  • "Physical injury" includes but is not limited to lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe or frequent bruising or great bodily harm.

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Bruises, welts on face, neck, chest, back
  • Injuries in the shape of an object (belt, cord)
  • Unexplained burns on palms, soles of feet, back
  • Fractures that don't fit the story of how an injury occurred
  • Delay in seeking medical help
  • Extremes in behavior: very aggressive or withdrawn and shy
  • Afraid to go home
  • Frightened of parents
  • Fearful of other adults

Scenario #1

An astrophysics professor gives a presentation about space travel to a scout troop that meets at a local church.  When leaving the troop meeting, the professor sees one of the scouts get picked up by an adult.  As the scout gets into the car, the professor sees the driver intentionally burn the child's arm with a cigarette.  What should the professor do?

Discussion Points for Scenario #1

  • Was the professor acting in his role as a UW-Superior employee?
  • Mandatory v. permissive reporting.
  • What information could the professor gather to pass along to DH&HS?

Recommended Response to Example #1

  • The professor reasonably suspects that child abuse is occurring, and therefore must make a report to either law enforcement or the DH&HS.
  • The professor should contact an authority listed in UW-Superior's policies.  Prior to doing so, without delay, the professor could quickly obtain the names and contact information for the scout leaders, so that the authorities have a way to follow up on the situation.
  • The professor should also be prepared to provide a description of the child, the driver, and the vehicle, so that authorities have the necessary information to determine the identity of the child.

Definition of Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a child under the age of 16 or with a 16 or 17 year-old child without his or her consent.
  • Permitting, allowing or encouraging a child to violate the statute prohibiting prostitution.
  • Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity for purposes of sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
  • Exposing genitals or pubic area to a child or exposing a child's genitals or pubic area for purposes of sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
  • Sexual exploitation of a child.

Definition of Sexual Exploitation

  • "Sexual exploitation" of a child occurs when a person employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices or coerces any child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of recording or displaying the conduct or records or displays a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
  • Sexual exploitation of a child also occurs when a person produces, performs in, profits from, promotes, imports into the state, reproduces, advertises, sells, distributes or possesses with intent to sell or distribute, any recording of a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Pain, swelling, or itching in genital area
  • Bruises, bleeding or discharge in genital area
  • Difficulty walking or sitting, frequent urination, pain
  • Stained or bloody underclothing
  • Venereal disease
  • Refusal to take part in gym or other exercises
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Unusual interest in sex for age
  • Drastic change in school achievement
  • Runaway or delinquent
  • Regressive or childlike behavior

Definition of "Emotional Abuse"

"Emotional damage" for which the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain the necessary treatment to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.

Definition of "Emotional Damage"

"Emotional damage" is harm to a child's psychological or intellectual functioning and is evidenced by one or more of the following characteristics exhibited to a severe degree: anxiety, depression, withdrawal; outward aggressive behavior; or a substantial and observable change in behavior, emotional response or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child's age and stage of development.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-denigration
  • Severe depression
  • Aggression
  • Withdrawal
  • Severe anxiety

Definition of Abuse as Manufacturing of Methamphetamines

  • Manufacturing methamphetamine with a child present, or in a child's home (including the premises of a child's home or in a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child's home).
  • Or under any other circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child.

Definition of "Neglect"

"Neglect" is failure, refusal or inability on the part of a caregiver, for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care of shelter so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child.

Signs of Neglect

  • Poor hygiene or odor
  • Inappropriately dressed for weather
  • Needs medical or dental care
  • Left alone, unsupervised for long periods
  • Failure to thrive or malnutrition

Scenario #2

  • A commuter camp staff member notices that one of the program participants is incredibly shy, does not interact with other children, frequently cries, and does not like going home at the end of the day.
  • The staffer has never seen any suspicious injuries and the child appears well kempt and appropriately attired. What should the staff member do?

Discussion Points for Scenario #2

  • What could the camp staff member ask co-workers?
  • How could the camp staff member access additional university resources?
  • What should the camp staff member do if he/she just cannot tell the reason for the camper's behavior?
    • Talk to the minor.
    • Consider asking the camp director to speak to the parents.

Recommended Response to Scenario #2

  • If the camp staff member is unsure about whether the facts should point to abuse, the camp staff member could first ask co-workers about their observations of the child, and whether the child or parents have offered any explanation for the child's behavior.
  • After quickly gathering information that might be readily available, the camp staff member could also contact UW System Office of General Counsel to discuss the situation.
  • If the camp staff member cannot determine a reason for the camper's behavior, and is unsure about whether the facts create a reasonable suspicion of abuse, the best course is to make a report.
  • The staff should be prepared to report the identity of the child and all observations leading to the making of the report. DH&HS or the police will make a determination on any necessary follow-up action.


  • You must report child abuse or neglect to DH&HS or the police.
  • If the reported abuse or neglect involves UW-Superior, then it must also be reported to the Department of Public Safety and to the UW-Superior Office of Affirmative Action if it involves potential sexual misconduct.
  • You may share information only with appropriate individuals, such as law enforcement personnel, social/human services personnel, appropriate University officials, and need-to-know co-workers. Beyond appropriate disclosures, you should treat the information as confidential.
  • Making a report involving a suspected victim who is over the age of 18 or a UW student, regardless of age, may violate various privacy laws. Before making such a reports, contact UW-Superior's Campus Safety Office.

Scenario #3

  • A gender studies instructor requires students to keep a journal and to write about suggested topics. The instructor reviews students' journal entries periodically throughout the course. When reviewing one student's journal, the instructor discovers that, in response to a prompt about power differentials in relationships, a student discloses that, as a child, the student was abused by his/her parent. What should the instructor do?
  • What if, in the same entry, the student discloses that a younger sibling is still living at home with the parent?

Discussion Points for Scenario #3

  • Is the student a minor? Does that matter?
  • Observations v. written records
  • Does the emergency exception to FERPA apply to the student?
  • Does the emergency exception to FERPA apply to the sibling?

Recommended Response to Scenario #3

  • The instructor should first determine whether the UW-Superior student is a minor.
  • If the UW-Superior student is under 18, the situation must be reported to authorities.
  • If the student retelling the incident is an adult, reporting may violate privacy laws, unless there is a present threat to health and safety.
  • Before reporting information about an adult, an instructor should contact the Department of Public Safety for advice.
  • If the UW-Superior student reveals that a younger (minor) sibling is still living in an abusive situation, that would trigger an obligation to report, even if the UW-Superior student is an adult.


  • If you have questions about your obligations or are concerned about what you have seen, please contact one of the following:
    • Your supervisor or someone higher in the supervisory chain

More Information

Here's what we covered

  • Definitions of child abuse and neglect
  • Warning signs
  • How to make a report and what to report
  • What you can do if you're unsure whether to report
  • Where to get more information
Take the EO #54 Test