State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandated reporters are only required to notify the state of suspected abuse when the defendant is the victim’s parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare.[201]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandated reporters include anyone that knows or suspects that a child has been abused. The following individuals are required to provide their names when making a mandated report: physical and mental health providers, spiritual healers, school employees, social workers, child care workers, law enforcement officers, and judges.

Health care professionals and other individuals who provide medical or counseling services to pregnant children are not required to report abuse when the only violation is impregnation of a child less than 16 years of age by someone 21 years of age or older when such reporting would interfere with the provision of medical services.[202]

3. Who to report to

All reports of suspected child abuse must be made to the Department of Children and Family Services’ central abuse hotline, via phone or in writing. If the report involves abuse by someone not responsible for the child, it is immediately electronically transferred to the appropriate county sheriff’s office.[203]

4. State response

Department of Children and Family Services employees receiving reports of abuse through the state’s hotline are responsible for determining if the report meets the statutory definition of child abuse.[204]  Any allegations of criminal conduct, including sexual abuse, must be immediately forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Any investigation on the part of law enforcement must be coordinated with the Department to the extent possible.[205] As indicated in the previous section, all reports to the state’s abuse hotline that involve abuse by someone not responsible for the child electronically transferred to the appropriate county sheriff’s office.[206]