Mandated Reporters

Reporting suspected child abuse is difficult. There are always nagging doubts about how the parents will react, what the outcome will be, and whether the report will put the child at greater risk.

The best way to minimize the difficulty of reporting is to be fully prepared for the experience and to understand the reporting requirements and the process that is triggered by making a report.

Child Protective Services only investigates allegations of child abuse or neglect perpetrated or allowed by the child's parent, caretaker or guardian. Allegations involving other perpetrators are referred to law enforcement.

If you are a mandated reporter, you are required to report if you suspect abuse.

What is the standard for reporting child abuse? "Reasonable suspicion" is the standard for reporting child abuse and neglect. This means that, based on your training and experience, you have reason to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected. Ask yourself, "Do I have serious concern for the child's safety and well being?" Use the following information as a guideline for recognizing indicators of abuse and neglect:

Physical Abuse: Any act that results in non-accidental injury.

INDICATORS: Abrasions, bruises, fractures, lacerations, bites, burns, head Injuries

Neglect: Neglectful treatment or maltreatment of a child by parents or caregiver under circumstances indicating harm or threatening harm to the child's health or welfare.

Severe Neglect: Failure of parent or caregiver to protect a child from severe malnutrition or a medically diagnosed failure to thrive. Failure to provide adequate food, clothing or medical care.

INDICATORS: Child appears malnourished, child often dirty or inadequately dressed for weather, home conditions are unsafe or unsanitary, child is often sleepy or hungry, evidence of poor supervision, lacking medical and dental care.

Sexual Abuse: Any activity between an adult, or older child, and a child that results in sexual arousal or satisfaction of the adult or older child.

INDICATORS: Age inappropriate sexual behavior, disclosure, eating disorders, injury/trauma unusual for age, sexually transmitted disease, stained/soiled/bloody underclothing, compulsive masturbation, drastic behavior changes, enuresis/encopresis, pregnancy, sleeping disorders

Emotional Abuse: Emotional maltreatment consists of emotional abuse and deprivation or neglect.

INDICATORS: Belittling, constant family discord, deprivation, excessive verbal assaults, parent/caregiver does not offer experiences providing feelings of being loved, wanted, secure, and worthy, screaming, unpredictability, blaming, constant negative moods, double message communication, inconsistency, sarcasm, threats

Who are Mandated Reporters?

Animal control officers
Child protective services personnel
District attorney investigators and inspectors
Film processors
Foster parents
Head Start teachers
Humane society employees
Marriage/family/child counselors
Public health service employees
Recreational program staff
School district police and security officers
Youth center employees
Childcare providers
Child visitation monitors
Emergency room personnel
Family support officers
Group home personnel
Health practitioners
Licensing workers
Parole officers
Probation officers
Pupil personnel public and private schools
Residential care facilities
Social workers
Teacher aides/assistants/administrators
Volunteers are not mandated reporters

How to make a report

Many schools and agencies have developed special procedures for reporting suspected child abuse. Whatever your organization's internal procedure, suspected child abuse must be reported immediately by calling the Child Protective Services 24-hour hotline (530)225-5144, or local law enforcement.

This must be followed by a written report within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident (Suspected Child Abuse Report) and submitted to the same agency.

Other things to know

Medical personnel are required by law to complete, even without the consent of the child's parent or caretaker, Department of Justice Form 900 "Medical Report - Suspected Child Abuse".

If the suspected abuse is sexual, medical personnel who conduct the examination must also complete either Office of Criminal Justice Planning Form 925 "Medical Report" or the OCJP Form 923.

As a mandated reporter you are responsible for reporting, not investigating suspected abuse. Mandated reporters are guilty of a misdemeanor and may be subject to civil damage suits it they fail to report.

The mandated reporter must give his or her name when reporting known or suspected child abuse to a child protective agency. The reporter's name is confidential; however, it may be disclosed only in very limited situations, as provided by law.

When making a report, it is necessary to provide the name of the child, the present location of the child, the nature and extent of the injury, and any other information that led to the report being made.

The website has more forms and information for mandated reporters.

Where to make a report

Crime in progress:
Contact your local law enforcement agency immediately or call 9-1-1.

All other incidents:
Contact Child Protective Services or the law enforcement agency in your community.

CPS Hotline: (530)225-5144

If you suspect, protect!

If your organization or business would like a presentation/training on this subject, please call the Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council 530-241-5816.