Who Are Mandated Reporters?
Members of the general public may report suspected child abuse and neglect if they choose. However, state law mandates that workers in certain professions must make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters include:
* Medical Personnel: Physicians, psychiatrists, surgeons, residents, interns, dentists, dentist hygienists, medical examiners, pathologists, osteopaths, coroners, Christian Science practitioners, chiropractors, podiatrists, registered and licensed practical nurses, emergency medical technicians, substance abuse treatment personnel, hospital administrators and other personnel involved in the examination, care or treatment of patients.
School and Child Care Personnel: Teachers, school personnel, educational advocates assigned to a child pursuant to the School Code, truant officers, directors and staff assistants of day care centers and nursery schools, and child care workers.
Law Enforcement: Truant officers, probation officers, law enforcement offi cers, and field personnel of the Department of Corrections.
State Agencies: Field personnel from the Departments of Children and Family Services, Public Health, Public Aid, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Corrections, Human Rights, Rehabilitation Services. Also includes supervisors and administrators of general assistance under the Illinois Public Aid Code.
- Others: Social workers, social service administrators, substance abuse treatment personnel, domestic violence program personnel, crisis line or hotline personnel, foster parents, homemakers, recreational program or facility personnel, registered psychologists and assistants working under the direct supervision of a psychologist.
Mandated reporters who make good faith reports have the same immunity from liability under the law as non-mandated reporters. However, a mandated reporter's failure to report suspected instances of child abuse or neglect to DCFS constitutes a Class A misdemeanor; simply reporting suspicions to a superior does not satisfy legal requirements.
How Should Mandated Reporters Make Reports?
Call the child abuse hotline as soon as possible. Then you must send written confirmation to the appropriate DCFS field office within 48 hours. The Department will provide a form to use when sending this confirmation. If you suspect a child's death may have been caused by abuse or neglect, you must also call your county's coroner or medical examiner.
Do your part to help protect abused children. Take action. Offer your support. Learn more about how you can help families in your community. Join Prevent Child Abuse Illinois' prevention efforts.
Sources of information: Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; and Reporting Child Abuse -- It's everyone's responsibility.