State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandatory reporters are required to report all instances of suspected child abuse.[460] The definition of child abuse, limited to offenses perpetrated by a person responsible for the child’s welfare, does not include any reference to sexual abuse.[461],[462]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandated reporters include the following individuals who encounter cases of suspected abuse through their professional capacity: physical and mental health practitioners; school teachers, school employees, and other school officials; social workers; employees and operators of child-care facilities; foster care, residential, and institutional workers; peace officers and law enforcement officials; members of the clergy;[463] or employees of any entity that contracts with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to provide direct services to children.[464]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reporters must notify the Department of Public Health and Human Services or its local affiliate of any cases of suspected abuse.[465]

4. State response

The Department of Public Health and Human Services is responsible for determining the level of response required for each report of abuse it receives. In cases where the Department decides that an investigation is warranted, the investigation should be conducted by a social worker, the county attorney, or a peace officer.[466]