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 have reasonable cause to suspect abuse.[700] The definition of an abused child includes children who are subjected to sexual abuse, molestation, or exploitation by their parent, guardian, custodian, or other person responsible for their care.[701]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include: social workers; parole, court, and law enforcement officers; physical and mental health providers and other individuals who have contact with children through the performance of services as a hospital employee; school teachers, counselors, administrators, and other employees; licensed or registered child welfare providers; domestic abuse shelter employees and volunteers; and chemical dependency counselors.[702]

3. Who to report to

Mandatory reporters must make an immediate oral report of abuse—by telephone or otherwise—to the state’s attorney of the county in which the child resides or is present, the Department of Social Services, or law enforcement. If requested by the reporter, the Department or law enforcement must provide the reporter with a written response—within 30 days of the initial report—acknowledging receipt of the report and stating whether the report will be investigated.[703]

4. State response

If a state’s attorney’s office or law enforcement officer receives the report, they must immediately notify the Department of Social Services,[704] which will serve as the central registry for reports of child abuse.[705] The Department or law enforcement must investigate the case upon receipt of a report. If the investigation indicates that the alleged abuse occurred, the state’s attorney is responsible for taking appropriate action.[706]