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Governor’s Office


Mandated Reporters

You are a mandated reporter if you are one of the following:

  • Health Practitioner
  • Educator
  • Human Service Worker
  • Police Officer



This does NOT require PROOF that abuse or neglect has occurred before reporting. 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. Proof may be long in coming, witnesses to child abuse and neglect are rare, and the child’s testimony may be disbelieved or inadmissible.

If you knowingly fail to report suspected abuse of a child, you may be subject to professional sanctions by licensing boards. Anyone that makes a “good faith” report is immune from civil liability and criminal penalty.

If you knowingly fail to report suspected abuse of a child, you may be subject to professional sanctions by licensing boards. Anyone that makes a “good faith” report is immune from civil liability and criminal penalty.

WHERE TO REPORT

Health practitioners are required to notify the local department of social services about suspected cases of child abuse. Appropriate law enforcement agencies must also be notified. Reporting form DHR/SSA 180 must be completed in addition to calling (select the ldss in your area) telephone numbers to make a report.

If the reporter is employed by a hospital, the head of the institution or their designee must also be notified immediately (Section 5-704(a)(2).) and the report must be added to the child’s record.

CONTENTS OF THE REPORT:
Section 5-704(c) requires that the oral and written reports 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 to function.
  • as much as the person making the report is able to furnish.


CONFIDENTIALITY

Information contained in records or reports concerning child abuse or neglect is sensitive and personal. Federal and State law narrowly restricts the circumstances under which information contained in reports or records may be disclosed. It is essential that health care professionals and institutions comply with the Maryland confidentiality law (article 88 a & b) of the Annotated Code of Maryland) when asked to disclose information contained in records concerning child abuse and neglect.

Confidentiality provisions states that:

  • The name of the reporter may only be revealed under a court order. However, if the reporter is a professional, he or she may give written permission for his or her identity to be revealed.
  • The identity of any other person whose life or safety is likely to be endangered by disclosing the information must not be disclosed. This is extremely important when sharing information with parents or the person who is suspected of child neglect or abuse.
  • Information should only be disclosed when doing so would be in the best interest of the child who is the subject of the report.
  • Professional discretion should be exercised to disclose only that information which is relevant for the care or treatment of the child.


In 1986, the Maryland confidentiality law was amended to permit the disclosure of information concerning abuse and neglect to licensed practitioners or an institution providing treatment or care to a child who is the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect. Maryland law also permits information to be shared with members of a multidisciplinary case consultation team who are investigating or providing services in response to a report of suspected abuse or neglect.

ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS

There are two Maryland laws (Health General Article 4-306, and the Family Law Article 5-711) pertaining to the disclosure of medical records, including mental health records to local departments of social services. (Health General Article, 4-306 went in effect July 1, 1991. The Family Law Article 5-711 went in effect July 1, 1987).

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 investigation or to whom services are being provided. Information is to be shared upon request to a local department of social services representative providing protective services. This law governs all medical records including mental health records.

This includes making available copies of medical records that the health care provider assesses to be relevant to the child protective services investigation or provisions of services. This provision also allows for the sharing of information without authorization from the person on whom information is being disclosed.

Family Law Article 5-711
This law mandates that medical care providers make copies available of a child’s medical record upon request by social services personnel conducting investigations or providing services to a child as a result of a child abuse or neglect report.

CHILD ABUSE REPORTING FORM (DHR/SSA 180) AND INSTRUCTIONS

SUBSTANCE-EXPOSED NEWBORN REPORTING FORM (DHR/SSA 2079)

Please click here to download this interactive form 2079. With this form you can type in your information, print it out, and fax it to your local social services department. Click here for a list of Local Departments of Social Services Child Protective Services for the State of Maryland.