Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

DeAnna M. Laverick

Second Advisor

Joann Migyanka

Third Advisor

Julie W. Ankrum


Child abuse and neglect are ever-growing problems within the nation. Educational institutions are charged with recognizing and reporting suspected child maltreatment. Educators play an integral part in the reporting process. This qualitative study examines how educators’ (N = 18) belief systems, their knowledge of child maltreatment characteristics, and their understanding of the process in which to report suspected child maltreatment may lead to effective or ineffective reporting of child maltreatment.

The purpose of this study was to determine the essence of educators’ perceptions and beliefs while considering background knowledge about the process of reporting child maltreatment issues. The study was grounded in theories of attribution, motivation, and perception. The results suggest recommendations and disclose factors that impede reporting by Pennsylvania’s K-12 public school educators. The findings showed how educators’ professional development training, understanding and application of policies and procedures, beliefs and contributing factors, and fear may affect decision-making skills in regard to submitting reports. Data sources included a semi-structured interview (n = 1), an artifact analysis of surveys gathered through The Center of Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA), and open-ended questionnaires (n = 17).