State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters are required to notify the proper authorities of all cases of suspected child abuse.[653] The definition of child abuse includes the sexual offenses listed in the previous section, but it only applies to cases where the defendant is the child’s parent, a person responsible for the child, an individual living in the home of the child, or a paramour of the child’s parent.[654]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include all individuals who encounter a case of suspected abuse through their professional or official capacity. The statute exempts clergy who learn of abuse through confidential confession.[655]

3. Who to report to

The Department of Public Welfare is required to maintain a statewide toll-free hotline and central registry to receive and track reports of abuse.[656] All reports of suspected child abuse must be made immediately to the Department’s hotline; reporters can also notify the county children and youth social service agency. Oral reports must be followed by written reports to the county agency within 48 hours of the initial notification.[657]

4. State response

The Department of Public Welfare must notify the children and youth social service agency in the county where the abuse allegedly occurred of all reports it receives and whether the statewide central registry indicates a prior report or current investigation.[658] The county agency should coordinate its investigation of alleged abuse with the appropriate county law enforcement agency.[659]