Incidences of child abuse and neglect have a profound effect on the lives of many children across the United States. Therefore, all states have set in place variations of mandatory reporting laws in order to decrease and prevent these incidents from occurring. These laws help ensure that cases of child abuse are reported to the proper authorities.
What are Mandatory Reporting Laws?
Mandatory reporting laws differ for each state when it comes to child abuse – which includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. However, it's important to remember that many of these laws also cover child neglect. In some states, these laws require that people in certain professions report child abuse and neglect to a proper authority, such as a law enforcement agency or child protective services. In other states, the mandatory reporting laws require that any person who suspects child abuse or neglect report any such instance.
What Types of People are Typically Required to Report Abuse?
According to information provided to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are 48 states that have mandatory reporting laws that require designated professionals to report child abuse and neglect. These individuals are usually people who have frequent contact with children because of their occupation. The following is a sampling of mandatory reporters according to state:
In California – Teachers, teacher's aides, employees of day camps and youth centers, social workers, physicians, and clergy members.
In New York - Physicians, dentists, licensed therapists, school officials, peace officers, and district attorneys.