Mandatory Reporting

I remember the first time I had to make a report. I was only in my first semester of college and working at an after-school program. At one point, a child disclosed to me that she was being abused at home. I was heart broken. This little girl was only seven, full of attitude, and very sweet. I couldn’t imagine why anyone could hurt any child, especially this one!

My name is Keri and I am the Childhelp Research and Reporting Coordinator. Beyond the work I do at Childhelp, I am also a mandatory reporter of child abuse and neglect. I wasn’t hired or appointed to be a mandatory reporter; I am one because part of my job requires me to work with children. Every state (and most U.S. territories) requires people of certain professions, such as teachers and doctors, to report suspected child abuse and neglect, but many states (and Puerto Rico) require any person that suspects child maltreatment to report it to law enforcement and/or child welfare services. 

Once the report was made, I was anxious to know what would happen next, but I soon realized that even though I made a report, I was not privy to any information.

My experience is similar to most people who have had to make reports of child abuse and neglect. It can be stressful, but keep in mind that without us looking out for them and helping to protect them, those children may continue to be abused and neglected. No child deserves to be harmed and it is our job as mandatory reporters to ensure that each child gets a chance to be loved, not hurt.

Most states offer free mandatory reporter trainings in person or online.  You should be able to find out about the trainings by going to your state's Child Welfare website, or you can email me at infocenter@childhelp.org and I will help you find the resources you need. 

If you would like more information about mandatory reporting or the signs and symptoms of child abuse, visit www.childhelpinfocenter.org

If you are ever in doubt about whether or not you should make a report, you can always call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD®.   

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