What Does it Mean to Be a Mandated Reporter

Categories: / /
Age Group: /
Resouce Types:


What’s a Mandated Reporter?

If you are within the United States (or territories), as a therapist, you are required by law to report  suspected child maltreatment to an appropriate agency, such as child protective services, a law enforcement agency, or a State’s toll-free child abuse reporting hotline.

What is Institutional Reporting?

Many institutions (workplaces like schools, clinics, and hospitals) have policies in place that specify that a specific individual will be the one to make the actual report and that all staff must report any suspicions to that person who will then report it.  If you have policies like this in place, make sure there is a paper trail of your report.  For example, if you speak to the main reporter about the incident in person, follow up with an email that says “As per our discussion this afternoon, I reported to you that ___ happened and you are going to report to the officials”.  Then, save a copy of that email and the main reporter’s response.

Do I Have to Have Proof?

Nope!  If you suspect that child abuse or neglect is going on, all you must do is provide the reasons why you suspect it.  You don’t need to wait until you can provide solid proof or evidence (like when the child gets seriously hurt) if you suspect that the child may get neglected or hurt.  Proving it is someone else’s job.

Will the Family Know I Reported Them?

You can choose to prevent the family from knowing the name of the person who reported them, but in many situations, it will be obvious.  You don’t need to tell the families in advance that you plan on reporting.

How do I Report?

Search for your state to find out if they have a toll-free reporting hotline.  If not, contact the child protective services in your area or your local law enforcement agency and ask what you need to do.


Source: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/manda.pdf#page=1&view=Introduction