In-service training on child abuse for classroom teachers: What is the effectiveness of mandated training?

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Lawrence J. Lewandowski


Child abuse, Mandated training, Inservice, Teacher training

Subject Categories

Education Policy | Teacher Education and Professional Development


Child abuse awareness has increased over the past few decades, especially within educational systems. Teachers are mandated across the United States to report suspected child abuse. As a result, some states have instituted mandatory training to provide school staff with information regarding issues, policies and procedures related to child abuse reporting. There is little research on training effectiveness, impact and maintenance. Two studies examined the effects of child abuse mandated reporting on teachers without prior training. The first study examined effects of a training compared with a no training group. The second study replicated these results and examined effects of multiple exposures to the measures. Participants were teachers in a Masters Program in Education and were randomly assigned to groups. In the first study, both groups received a pre-test, the training group received a training and post test one week later and then both groups received a 2-month maintenance assessment. In the second study, one group received a pre-test, one week later both groups received training and an immediate post test and then both groups received a 2-month maintenance. In both studies, teachers assigned to training showed significant gains in knowledge, skill and reporting confidence as compared to controls. Additional exposure did not demonstrate initial effects but may have impacted maintenance. Finally, the bulk of these gains were maintained two months after training. These findings provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of child abuse training.