State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandatory reporters are required to notify the proper authorities if they suspect that a child has been the victim of abuse.[253] The statute defines child abuse to include the offenses listed in the previous section. However, the definition only applies to those cases where the defendant is the parent, immediate family member, person responsible for the child’s welfare, an individual residing in the same house as the child, or a paramour of the child’s parent.[254]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include the following individuals who suspect that a child known to them through their professional or official capacity has been a victim of abuse: physical and mental health providers; hospital administrators; substance abuse treatment personnel; crisis line or hotline personnel; school personnel; educational advocates assigned to a child pursuant to the school code; truant officers; social workers; social services administrators; domestic violence program personnel; nursery school and day care personnel; recreational program or facility personnel; law enforcement officers; field personnel of the Departments of Public Aid, Public Health, Human Services, Corrections, Human Rights, or Children and Family Services; probation officers; clergy;[255] foster parents; homemakers; and child care workers.[256]

3. Who to report to

The Department of Children and Family Services is required to maintain a statewide toll-free hotline to receive reports of abuse at all times.[257] Mandated reporters are required to immediately report suspected child abuse through this hotline or by notifying the Department’s nearest office. Initial reports must be followed within 48 hours by a written report to the appropriate Child Protective Service Unit.[258]

4. State response

All reports received through the statewide hotline are to be immediately forwarded to the appropriate Child Protective Service Unit.[259] These specialized units within the Department of Children and Family Services are responsible for investigating all reports of child abuse.[260] The initial investigation to determine the need for a formal investigation must commence within 24 hours of receiving a report.[261] The unit then has 60 days to conduct a formal investigation. [262]
In addition, the Department must orally notify law enforcement and the State’s Attorney of the involved county within 24 hours of receiving reports alleging sexual abuse. Oral notification must be followed within 48 hours by a written report.