What Are Mandatory Reporting Laws?

What Are Mandatory Reporting Laws?

child abuse vs discipline
Child abuse is a very serious offense that most people do not ignore. As soon as it is discovered
that someone has hurt or abused a child, the authorities will be alerted. Then the accused person
will be arrested and face criminal charges. More on that can be found here.

Hurting a child is cruel and so most people are against the act. If they think they are seeing signs
of child abuse, they will likely report it to the proper authorities. What some people may not be
aware of, is that there are certain professions that are required by law to report suspected
incidents of child abuse. Failing to do so can result in legal consequences.

Who Are Mandatory Reporters?

The state of California has a law known as Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA).
This law labels certain jobs as mandatory reporters. Some of the people who are mandatory
reporters include:

  • Administrators and employees of youth programs.
  • Child care employees.
  • Child visitation monitors.
  • Clergy members.
  • Computer technicians
  • Doctors.
  • Firefighters.
  • Head start program teachers.
  • Instructional aides.
  • Police officers.
  • Public assistance workers.
  • Public school employees.
  • School security.
  • Social workers.
  • Teacher’s aides.
  • Teachers.

This means that someone working in any of the above fields has to file a report of suspected
child abuse or neglect of anyone under the age of 18, to local law enforcement and to social
services within 36 hours of learning of the abuse. If a person in these fields suspects that a child
is being abused, or neglected, they have to file a report. If they fail to do that, then they could
face legal consequences.

The Consequences of Failing to Report

Mandatory reporters are meant to help keep kids safe. If they don’t properly file a report in a
timely manner, a kid could get severely hurt, or even die. That is something that no one wants to

When a person fails to file a report of suspected neglect or abuse, they will be charged with a
misdemeanor offense. This means that they will face:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If a person working in one of the professions listed under CANRA willfully chooses to not report
suspected abuse or neglect, and the child dies or suffers great bodily harm, the person will face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $5,000.

Reporting Could Save a Child

Children are very important for the future and they don’t always know how to ask for help. This
means that adults need to be the ones to help kids out. This is what parents are supposed to do,
but sometimes they are the ones causing the problem. When that is the case, it is up to mandatory
reporters to come to the child’s rescue.

Due to this fact, it is very important that every mandatory reporter do their job and report
incidents of abuse, or even suspected abuse. After all, it is often better to be safe, than sorry.

What do you think of California’s mandatory reporting laws? Is it the right thing to do to force
people to report suspected cases of abuse? What about the consequences for failing to report, are
they fair? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.