National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Review of State CPS Policy. Mandated Reporting


The policy materials for almost all States addressed the function of reporting and who is mandated or required to report alleged maltreatment.1 In several cases, State statutes specified the classes of mandated reporters. (See table 3-A.)

The review of policy indicated a range of configurations from widely mandated and accepted reporting (any person with reason to suspect child abuse or neglect, including anonymous sources) to more narrowly mandated reporting (specified categories limited to certain professional reporters).

  • Thirty States (58.8%) included a blanket statement regarding mandated reporters. Fourteen States (27.5%) had a statement that everyone is a mandated reporter; 14 States (27.5%) had a statement that anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect may report; and 2 States (3.9%) had a statement that anyone with a responsibility for the care of a child is mandated to report.
  • Thirty-two States (62.7%) accepted reports from anonymous reporters.
Category Mandated Number and Percentage of States
Table 3-1:
Summary of Mandated Reporter Categories
Social Services personnel 49 (96.1%)
Medical personnel 49 (96.1%)
Mental Health personnel 47 (92.2%)
Education personnel 47 (92.2%)
Child daycare providers 47 (92.2%)
Legal, law enforcement or criminal justice personnel 46 (91.2%)
Substitute care providers including foster parents 42 (82.4%)

Professionals were mandated to report by almost all the States. In approximately one-quarter of the States, non-professional sources, including victims, parents, relatives, and community members were required to report.

Several States had specific language that designated "other" mandated reporters. These included Christian Science practitioners, funeral directors, commercial film and photographic print professionals, substance abuse treatment agencies, legislators, clergy members, guardians ad litem, other health professionals (e.g., dentists, chiropractors), child visitation monitors, domestic violence shelter employees, mediators, veterinarians, firefighters, employers of contracted entities providing direct services, spiritual practitioners, clergy serving in nonpastoral capacities, alcohol and other drug counselors, physical therapists, dieticians, and speech language therapists.

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