What Does Mandated Reporting Mean?

While child abuse and neglect can be a tough topic to discuss, once you suspect or learn of abuse or neglect, you must make a choice: to report, or not. While everyone should and can report child abuse and neglect (in most cases, you can do so anonymously), there are certain people required by law to do so.

A mandated reporter is a person who is required by law to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the proper designated authorities. All 50 states require that professionals who work with children report reasonable suspicions of child abuse, and some states require anyone with suspicions to report.

Who Is a Mandated Reporter?
You might be wondering, “Am I a mandated reporter?” That’s a fair question, since it varies by state. In Ohio, mandated reporters include health care workers, teachers, school employees, attorneys, social workers, therapists, among others.

Click here to view a complete list of mandated reporters in Ohio, and to find more information about Ohio’s statues. To use the tool:

1. Select Ohio from the drop-down.
2. Under Topic, select Mandatory Reporters for Child Abuse and Neglect under the Child Abuse and Neglect Section.
3. Scroll down and click the “Go!” button at the bottom of the page for results.

When To Call
In most states, reports are anonymous, and there are no repercussions for making a report (“immunity for good faith reporting”), so there is no reason not to err on the side of caution. Report any suspicion in which a child’s welfare or safety may be at risk.

At minimum, a report must include all known information about the abuse or neglect suspected, along with information about any actions taken to assist the child and contact information of the reporter.

If a child discloses abuse, you should absolutely report it to the proper authorities, after assuring the child that you believe them and will take steps to help.

What Information Do I Need to Make a Report?

  • The name and address of the child you suspect is being abused or neglected
  • The age of the child
  • The name and address of the parents/caretakers
  • The name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the child and the address, if available
  • The reason you suspect the child is being abuse and neglected
  • Any other information which may be helpful to the investigation.

You have the option of giving your name or reporting anonymously. Giving your name can help the investigator clarify information. The agency will not give your name to the person suspected of abusing the child.

Even if you are not considered a mandated reporter in your state, you are still encouraged to report suspected child abuse and/or neglect to local Child Protective Services (CPS), or by calling the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child.

If you would like free training on mandated reporting or similar topics, The Center for Family Safety and Healing (TCFSH) can come to your organization to offer training, support and additional resources.  View TCFSH training topics and request free training here.

Additional Resources

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2 responses to “What Does Mandated Reporting Mean?

  1. Mary Mueller

    Waaay back in the early 70s one of my children (aged 9) told me her best friend’s father was abusing his son (age 9) and possibly the little brother (age 18 months or so). She described cursing, slapping in the face, dropping the toddler, heavy drinking, all reported by the older boy to her. I called Children’s Services to report this and was told hearsay from a child was not grounds for investigating. I hope things have changed since then.

  2. Tom Fields

    The Ohio Revised Code does not identify anything that should raise a mandatory reporter’s suspicion of financial elder abuse enough to require the mandatory reporter to report. It is critically important that the ORC identify at least the most obvious indicators. Consider, for example, that after identifying such indicators, the ORC could mandate self-reporting in situations such as that which is the subject of the ABC News report that I share and discuss online at http://tvfields.com/ABCNews.pdf. Mandating such self-reporting is the first step needed to ensure that reasonable forensic standards are followed to satisfy the reasonable suspicions of affected parties. After identifying such indicators and mandating the self-reporting of such indicators, the ORC needs to address the consequences for self-reporters who fail to self-report …

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