Anyone may file a report
- In all states any person concerned for the welfare or safety of a child can voluntarily file a report. You do not have to be in a professional relationship with a family to contact CPS or police on behalf of a child. Remarkably, some very courageous children and teens have also contacted the authorities directly regarding their own or a sibling’s victimization.
Most professionals who work with families and children are mandated
- All states require certain professionals or institutions to report suspected child abuse. Those required by law to file are considered mandated reporters. These professionals can include health care providers, mental health providers, crisis counselors, school personnel, social workers, day care providers and law enforcement personnel among others.
- In some states additional professionals are now included on the list of mandated reporters: commercial film developers, substance abuse counselors, domestic violence professionals, court-appointed special advocates, and members of the clergy.
- To read the specific mandatory reporting statute for your state, consult the Child Welfare Information Gateway searchable database of statutes.
More states now include clergy as mandated reporters
- Some states (26) have revised their reporting laws to now include clergy as mandatory reporters. In many states a faith leader’s knowledge of child abuse (of any kind) can no longer be considered privileged or confidential information. A member of the clergy who does not practice in a state where he/she is a mandated reporter may still consider notifying the authorities out of a personal or ethical obligation.
- If you have a question about whether or not a member of the clergy (of any faith) is required to file reports in your state, consult your local statutes. This information is easily accessible through the Child Welfare Information Gateway document Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.
Some states now include all adults as mandated reporters
- In an effort to encourage more adults to speak up on behalf of children, some states have changed their laws to require any person, (regardless of profession) who suspects child abuse or neglect, to report to authorities.
Your Help CenterPrivacy
Your Help CenterPrivacy
- Recognizing Warning Signs
- Definitions of Child Sexual Abuse
- How Abuse Happens
- Understanding Sexual Behavior in Kids
- Warning Signs in Adults and Children
- Warning Signs of Abuse in Children (Behavioral and Physical)
- Signs an Adult May be At-Risk to Harm a Child
- Behaviors to Watch Out for When Adults are with Children
- How Can I Tell if My Child Has Been Sexually Abused?
- Warning Signs a Young Person May Be a Target of Online Sexual Abuse
- Warning Signs of Someone's Dangerous or Illegal Online Activity
- Prevention and Safety
- Keys to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
- Creating a Plan for Safety
- Considering Filing Reports
- Talking About It
- Finding the Courage to Speak Up
- Speaking to Someone with a Sexual Behavior Problem
- When a Child Tells About Sexual Abuse
- How Should I Respond to the Child?
- What Should I Do after a Child Tells?
- How Can I Better Understand What My Child is Going Through?
- Possible Reactions of Non-Offending Parents and Caring Adults
- Is the Child Telling Me the Truth?
- What Might the Person Who Has Offended Be Thinking or Feeling after a Disclosure?
- Recovery and Therapy
- For Children and Adults Who Have Been Abused
- For Those At-Risk to Abuse Others or Who Have Offended
- For Parents and Caregivers
- Reporting and Legal Issues
- Filing Reports
- Child Protective Services and Police
- Legal Issues