State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

Mandatory reporters are required to report all incidences of child abuse, including sexual abuse. Although the statute indicates that the purpose of the reporting requirement is to protect the welfare of children from abuse perpetrated by those responsible for their care and protection, the definition of sexual abuse is not limited to those responsible for the child’s welfare. However, the definition specifically states that sexual abuse does not include consensual sex between minors or between minors and adults when the adult is no more than 5 years older than the minor.[213]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include: physical and mental health providers; professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists; school employees; child welfare agency personnel; child counseling personnel; child service organization personnel; and law enforcement.[214]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reporters must make an oral report to a child welfare agency providing protective services, as designated by the Department of Human Resources, as soon as possible in cases where they suspect abuse. Reports can be made to law enforcement or the district attorney in the absence of a designated child welfare agency. Reporters must follow all initial reports with written ones.[215]

4. State response

Upon receiving reports of alleged abuse, the child welfare agency—designated by the Department of Human Resources—is responsible for conducting an investigation. If the investigation suggests that there is reasonable cause to believe that an offense took place, the agency must immediately notify law enforcement or the district attorney.[216]