State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters are required to report all cases where they know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been a victim of abuse.[582] The definition of an abused child includes the sexual offenses listed in the previous section. It does not include any provisions indicating that it only applies to persons responsible for the child’s welfare.[583]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandated reporters include persons in any of the following positions who encounter a case of abuse through their professional or official capacity: physical and mental health providers; school teachers, administrators, and counselors; addiction counselors; social workers; day care center and child care workers; members of the clergy;[584] and police or law enforcement officers.[585]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reporters must make an immediate oral or written report to the Department of Human Services (or its designee) if they know of or suspect that a child has been the victim of abuse. Oral reports must be followed by a written report within 48 hours upon the Department’s request.[586]

4. State response

The Department of Human Services has the initial responsibility for the investigation of all reports of child abuse. In cases alleging the violation of a criminal statute involving sexual abuse, the Department must coordinate its investigation with the appropriate law enforcement agency.[587] In cases where the alleged defendant is not a person responsible for the child’s welfare, the Department may refer the report to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation and disposition.[588]