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Lesson Three:
Overview of Mandated Reporter Laws in California, including Protections Afforded Mandated Reporters

Contents:

California Law regarding Mandated Reporting
Who are Mandated Reporters
General Guidelines for Reporting
Confidentiality and Protections for Mandated Reporters
Consequences of Not Reporting

Objectives: After completing this module, the mandated reporters will be able to…

Summarize his or her obligations as a mandated reporter
Identify other professionals who are mandated reporters
Describe the general guidelines and procedures for reporting
Describe confidentiality and other protections for mandated reporters
Describe the consequences of not reporting a suspected case

What Does the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law Require?
The Child Abuse Reporting Law (California Penal Code section 11166) requires certain professionals and lay persons, who have a special working relationship or contact with children, to report known or suspected abuse to the proper authorities. The following is an excerpt from the law:

“…Any child care custodian, health practitioner, employee of a child protective agency, child visitation monitor, firefighter, animal control officer or humane society officer who has knowledge of or observes a child, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse, shall report the known or suspected instance of child abuse to a child protective agency immediately or as soon as practically possible by telephone and shall prepare and send a written report thereof within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident.”

“…For the purpose of this article, “reasonable suspicion” means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse.”

California Penal Code section 11166 requires the following professionals to report suspected child abuse:
• Child care custodians
• Health practitioners
• Employees of a child protective agency
• Child visitation monitors
• Firefighters
• Animal control officers
• Humane Society officers
• Commercial film and photographic print processors
• Clergy

For purposes of the reporting law, educators and other school employees typically fall into the categories of childcare custodian and health care practitioners. (For further clarification of each category, see Appendix 3.)

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