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New Law: Who is a mandated reporter for child abuse?

Date: August 22, 2013 Categories: Blog

A mandated reporter is anyone who frequently works with children. These professionals can include coaches, clergy, educational professionals, as well as social workers. The new law, which came into effect August 1st, states that these individuals are mandated reporters even when they are not serving in their profession.

Although occupation is an indicator of whether or not one is a mandated reporter, there are specific times when everyone is required by law to act in this capacity. These times include when an adult witnesses the sexual abuse of a child, and when any person knows of a homicide, rape or sexual abuse of a child. Because it is a legal obligation, is it important to report, even if the adult is not completely sure that the child is experiencing sexual or physical abuse.

In order to report abuse of a child by their caregiver, call 855-4LAKIDS. If the alleged offender is not the child’s caregiver, then it is important to contact the local non-emergency law enforcement number. Within five days of giving an oral report, a written report must be made and submitted via fax.

Failure to report can result in imprisonment, fines or both. It is better to report, even if unsure, then to not report at all. Reporting in good faith will protect the identity of the reporter, and will also protect them from any civic or criminal liability.

For more information on mandated reporters and for a full training from the Department of Children and Family Services, click here!!