The California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law

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The California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law

Transcript Of The California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law

The California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law
Issues and Answers for Mandated Reporters
Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
Rev. 6/2012

Rev. 6/2012

The Chadwick Center and Office of Child Abuse Prevention are grateful to Eliana Gil, Ph.D., for the work she did as the original author of this publication. We also wish to acknowledge the following people for their contributions: Diane Nissen, MSW, Allyson Kohl, LMFT; Catharine J. Ralph, LCSW; Kim Ralph, MSW, and Patty Lough, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D.
Revised by Lisa McCulloch, LCSW Chadwick Center for Children and Families
Rady Children’s Hospital
Rev. 6/2012

Rev. 6/2012

Table of Contents
Introduction The Reporting Law Identification
Environmental Factors Parent/Caregiver Clues Physical Indicators (Child) Behavioral Indicators (Child) Guidelines to Determining Reasonable Suspicion Cultural Considerations Talking to Children What to Tell Parents/Caretakers Profession-Specific Information Child Care Professionals Clergy Educators Law Enforcement Medical Professionals Mental Health Professionals Children With Disabilities Major Treatment Issues (for Therapists) Frequently Asked Questions References and Resources Appendix A- Suspected Child Abuse Report (Form SS 8572) and Instructions Appendix B- Sample Confidentiality Statements and Agreement Appendix C- Chart summarizing sexual abuse reporting requirements based on the age difference between the partner and the minor Appendix D- Statewide and National Resources Appendix E- Profession-Specific References/Resources
Rev. 6/2012

Issues and AnDswoecrusmfoernMt Tanitdleated Reporters
This handbook was originally written to help mental health professionals understand the Child Abuse Reporting Law and their reporting responsibilities, and to identify and address major treatment issues. This revised edition also includes issues specific to various other professionals, specifically: child care providers, clergy, educators, law enforcement, and medical professionals. Information about working with children with disabilities and the mandated reporting process is also included.
For the mandated reporter, making a report of suspected child abuse can be difficult. Concerns about how the person suspected of abusing a child will react, what the outcome will be, and whether or not the report will put the child at greater risk are often present. The best way to minimize the difficulty of reporting is to be fully prepared for the experience. Mandated reporters should be knowledgeable about reporting requirements and the process that is triggered when a report is made. Responding to suspected child abuse requires a team effort involving professionals from a variety of disciplines including child protection workers, law enforcement, medical personnel, and mental health professionals.
Information contained in this publication is offered as an aid to mandated reporters in reporting suspected child abuse. It clarifies basic information. It is not meant to be all-inclusive or to cover all situations, nor should it be considered legal advice. Because mandated reporters include individuals in a variety of professions, it is important to be educated about protocols and issues specific to your profession. When in doubt about what to do in a particular situation, contact your local child welfare agency and/or law enforcement agency. Additional resources, including toll free numbers and web sites, are listed in the Appendix section.

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The Reporting Law
The first child abuse reporting law in California, enacted in 1963, pertained only to physicians. It mandated that physicians report evidence of physical abuse. As knowledge and understanding of child abuse increased over time, it became evident that other professionals might also be in a position to identify maltreatment. This led to a substantial increase in the number of professional groups designated in state laws as mandated reporters. The expansion of the ranks of mandated reporters was accompanied by a broadening of the concept of reportable maltreatment to include sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, and neglect. The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) was passed in 1980. Over the years, numerous amendments have expanded the definition of child abuse and the persons required to report. Procedures for reporting have also been clarified. In California, certain professionals are required to report known or suspected child abuse. Other citizens, though not required by law to report, may also do so. It is important for mandated reporters to stay abreast of periodic amendments in the law. Your local Child Abuse Prevention Council or Child Protective Agency has current reporting law information.
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1. Why Must You Report?
The primary intent of the reporting law is to protect the child. Protecting the identified victim may also provide the opportunity to protect other potential victims. It is equally important to provide help for the suspected abuser. The report of abuse may be a catalyst for bringing about change in the home environment, which in turn may lower the risk of abuse.
2. What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse and neglect, as defined in CANRA, includes: physical abuse, sexual abuse (including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect (including both acts and omissions). Under current law, child abuse does not include
· “A mutual affray between minors.” (PC 11165.6)
· “Reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer acting within the course and scope of his
or her employment as a peace officer.” (PC 11165.4)
· “An amount of force that is reasonable and necessary for a person employed by or engaged in a
public school to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to person or damage to property, for purposes of self-defense, or to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects within the control of the pupil.” (PC 11164.5) In addition, “A child receiving treatment by spiritual means…or not receiving specified medical treatment for religious reasons, shall not for that reason alone be considered a neglected child. An informed and appropriate medical decision made by parent or guardian after consultation with a physician or physicians who have examined the minor does not constitute neglect.” (PC 11165.2[b])
3. What to Report
The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting ACT (CANRA) can be found in California Penal Code Sections 11164 - 11174.3. The following is a partial description of the statute. Mandated reporters should become familiar with the detailed requirements as they are set forth in CANRA. Under the law, when the victim is a child (a person under the age of 18) and the perpetrator is any person (including a child), the following types of abuse must be reported by all legally mandated reporters:

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Physical abuse (PC 11165.6) is defined as physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child, or intentionally injuring a child.
Child sexual abuse (PC 11165.1) includes sexual assault or sexual exploitation of anyone under the age of 18. Sexual assault includes sex acts with children, intentional masturbation in the presence of children, and child molestation. Sexual exploitation includes preparing, selling, or distributing pornographic materials involving children; performances involving obscene sexual conduct; and child prostitution.
Willful cruelty or unjustified punishment (PC 11165.3) includes inflicting or permitting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or the endangerment of the child’s person or health. “Mental suffering” in and of itself is not required to be reported; however, it may be reported. Penal Code11166.05 states: “Any mandated reporter who has knowledge of or who reasonably suspects that mental suffering has been inflicted upon a child or that his or her emotional well-being is endangered in any other way may report the known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect to an agency specified in Section11165.9”. (The specified agencies include any police department, sheriff’s department, county probation department, if designated by the county to receive mandated reports, or the county welfare department.)
Unlawful corporal punishment or injury (PC 11165.4), willfully inflicted, resulting in a traumatic condition.
Neglect (PC11165.2) of a child, whether “severe” or “general,” must also be reported if the perpetrator is a person responsible for the child’s welfare. It includes both acts and omissions that harm or threaten to harm the child’s health or welfare.
General neglect means the failure of a caregiver of a child to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision, where no physical injury to the child has occurred.
Severe neglect means the intentional failure of a caregiver to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care where injury has occurred or is likely to occur. Severe neglect also includes those situations of neglect where any person having the care or custody of a child willfully causes or permits the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered. Any of the above types of abuse or neglect occurring in out-of-home care must also be reported (PC 11165.5). (For a discussion of newborns with a positive toxicology screen, or for information on child abuse in relation to domestic violence, see the “Frequently Asked Questions” section.)

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4. Who Reports?
Under CANRA, legally mandated reporters include, but are not limited to
· Clergy Members (i.e., a priest, minister, rabbi, religious practitioner, or similar functionary of a
church, temple, or recognized denomination or organization)
· Any custodian of records of a clergy member
· Child Care Providers (e.g., an administrator of a public or private day camp; an administrator or
employee of public or private youth center, recreation program, or organization; a licensee, administrator, or employee of licensed community care or child day care facility; an employee of a child care institution (foster parents, group home personnel, personnel of residential care facilities))
· Educators (e.g., teachers; instructional aides; teacher’s aides or assistants employed by any public or
private school; classified employees of any public school; administrative officers or supervisors of child welfare and attendance, or certificated pupil personnel employees of any public or private school; any employee of a County Office of Education or the State Department of Education whose duties require direct contact and supervision of children; Head Start Program teachers)
· Law Enforcement (i.e., any employee of any police department, county sheriff’s department, county
probation department, or county welfare department; peace officers; firefighters (except for volunteer firefighters); and animal control officers or humane society officers)
· Medical Professionals (e.g., nurses, paramedics, EMT’s, physicians, dentists, chiropractors,
alternative health practitioners, physical therapists)
· Mental Health Professionals (e.g., clinical social workers, trainees and interns; marriage, family and
child counselors, trainees and interns; school counselors; psychologists, psychological assistants, and interns; alcohol and drug counselors)
· Commercial Film and Photographic Print Processors
A complete list of mandated reporters is provided in the California Penal Code (PC) section 11165.7.

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