You are a mandated reporter if you are one of the following:
- Health Practitioner
- Human Service Worker
- Police Officer
Reporting does NOT require PROOF that abuse or neglect has occurred. Incidents are to be reported as soon as they are suspected. Waiting for proof may involve grave risk to the child and impede services to the family. Witnesses to child abuse and neglect are rare. Professional judgment and knowledge should be used to evaluate any suspicion.
If, as a mandated reporter, knowingly fail to report suspected abuse of a child, you may be subject to professional sanctions by licensing boards. Anyone making a “good faith” report is immune from civil liability and criminal penalty.
WHERE TO REPORT
If the reporter is employed in a hospital, public health agency, child care institution, school, detention facility or similar institution; the staff shall immediately notify the head of the institution or their designee (Family Law, Section 5-704 (a)(2)). Notification of the institution head does not substitute for the staff’s need to call the local department of social services and complete the form 180 and notify the State’s Attorney’s office.
Oral and written reports must contain:
- The name, age, and home address of the child;
- The name and home address of the child’s parent or party responsible for the child’s care;
- The whereabouts of the child;
- The nature and extent of the abuse or neglect of the child;
- Any evidence or information available to the reporter concerning possible previous instances of abuse or neglect and;
- Any evidence or information that would help to determine the cause of the suspected abuse or neglect;
- The identity of any individual responsible for the abuse or neglect;
- Any observable, identifiable and substantial impairment of a child’s mental or psychological ability function
The intake worker will request additional information in order to obtain the most comprehensive and complete information possible to inform decision making and subsequent agency actions. Because Child Protective Services seeks to affect both safety and change, information on the family’s strengths as well as difficulties will be requested.
CHILD ABUSE REPORTING FORM (DHR/SSA 180) AND INSTRUCTIONS
ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS
Health General Article 4-306
Mandates that health care providers disclose information from medical records concerning any person (child or adult) who is being assessed as part of a protective services response or to whom services are being provided. Information is to be shared upon request to the local department of social services representative providing the protective services. The law governs medical records including mental health records.
Family Law Article 5-711
The law mandates that as needed by the local department as part of its child protective services response or in order for the department to provide appropriate services in the best interests of the child who is the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect; copies of the child’s medical records be provided, upon request from any provider of medical care.
SUBSTANCE-EXPOSED NEWBORN REPORTING FORM (DHR/SSA 2079)