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Mandated Reporter: How to see the signs of abuse

PEKIN - A man in Pekin is accused of beating a child. 33-year-old Shawn Vanetten was charged after his 8-year-old stepson showed up to school with signs of abuse.

"There was a student that was very upset that reported it to our principal as he came off the bus," says Leonard Ealy, assistant superintendent at Pekin Public School District 108. "And we just happened to have a DCFS worker at the school, for another situation, and he turned it over to him."

School personnel in the state of Illinois are required to go through training to become a mandated reporter. When they see signs of abuse, they're required to report it.

"You may not actually see the injury because it might be under their clothing," says Dr. Channing Petrak, medical director at Pediatric Resource Center. "You might see changes in behavior, you might see school absences."

If you see any signs of child abuse, such as bruising in unusual areas, limping, or change in behavior, you can report it to DCFS at their hotline 1-800-25-ABUSE.

"If you see something, say something," says Dr. Petrak. "We have to protect children. They are vulnerable and they are our most precious resource."

Vanetten will be in court Friday.


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