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Mandated Reporting. CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT. Caution. The following presentation contains graphic photos of general neglect, severe neglect, physical abuse, substance abuse, and failure to thrive incidents. Mandated Reporting.

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mandated reporting

Mandated Reporting




The following presentation contains graphic photos of general neglect, severe neglect, physical abuse, substance abuse, and failure to thrive incidents.

mandated reporting3
Mandated Reporting
  • The California Penal Code mandates that certain professionals are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect
  • These professionals are called Mandated Reporters
  • Mandated reporters include a variety of persons that work with children (any child care custodian)
reporting child abuse
Reporting Child Abuse
  • Remember that reporting child abuse does not mean physical intervention or snooping.
  • It simply means not ignoring the obvious.
what is child abuse and neglect welfare institutions code 300 a j
(a) Physical abuse

(b) Neglect

(c) Emotional abuse

(d) Sexual abuse

(e) Severe physical abuse of children under five

(f) Parent caused death of a sibling

(g) Parent’s failure to support

(h) Legal orphan

(i) Cruelty

(j) Other siblings neglected, child at risk

What is Child Abuse and Neglect?Welfare & Institutions Code 300 (a) – (j)
a physical abuse
(a) Physical Abuse

• Serious physical abuse inflicted non-accidentally.

• Must be by the child's parent or guardian.

• Substantial risk of serious future injury.

• History of repeated injuries on the child or siblings.

• Does NOT include reasonable and age-appropriate spanking to the buttocks.

• Does NOT include fights between like-age minors.

physical abuse8
Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may be suspected when the child:

  • Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
  • Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school or daycare
  • Seems frightened of the parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home
  • Shrinks at the approach of adults
  • Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver
physical abuse9
Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may be suspected when the parent or adult caregiver:

  • Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s injury
  • Describes the child as “evil” or in some other very negative way
  • Uses harsh punishment or physical discipline with the child
  • Has a history of abuse as a child
b neglect
(b) Neglect

• Failure to adequately supervise or protect the child.

• Failure to protect from the conduct of others.

• Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment.

• Inability to provide care due to mental illness, developmental disability, or substance abuse.

• Medical decision made after consultation with a physician does NOT constitute neglect.

  • Two types
    • General neglect
      • Basic necessities
    • Severe neglect
      • Medical necessities
      • Injury

The assessment of child neglect requires consideration of cultural values and standards as well as the recognition that the failure to provide the necessities of life may be related to poverty


Neglect may be suspected when the child:

  • Is frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations or glasses
  • Is consistently dirty and/or severe body odor
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for weather
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs
  • Lacks supervision, especially in dangerous activities or for long periods of time

Neglect be suspected when the parent or other caregiver:

  • Appears to be indifferent to the child
  • Seems apathetic or depressed
  • Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs




severe neglect
Severe Neglect
  • Severe Neglect
    • The refusal of or delay in seeking medical care
    • Driving with the child while intoxicated
    • Abandonment
    • Refusal to allow a runaway to return home
    • Inadequate supervision that causes injury
c emotional abuse
(c) Emotional Abuse
  • Serious emotional damage.
  • Child must exhibit severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, aggressive behavior toward self or others.
  • Must be a result of the conduct of the parent or guardian.


  • Parent or guardian is not capable of providing appropriate care.
emotional abuse35
Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
    • Psychological abuse, verbal abuse and mental injury
    • Includes acts or omissions by the parent or other caregiver that causes, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders
    • Difficult to prove
emotional abuse36
Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse may be suspected when the child:

  • Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
  • Displays inappropriately adult behavior (for example, parenting other children)
  • Displays inappropriately infantile behavior (for example, frequently rocking or head-banging)
  • Is delayed in physical or emotional development
  • Reports lack of attachment to parent
emotional abuse37
Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse may be suspected when the parent or adult caregiver:

  • Constantly blames, belittles, or berates the child
  • Is unconcerned about the child and refuses to consider offers of help for the child’s problems
  • Overtly rejects the child
d sexual abuse
(d) Sexual Abuse
  • Parent sexually abuses child or substantial risk of sexual abuse.
  • Parent fails to protect from sexual abuse they should have reasonably known about.
  • Promotes, aids, assists, employs, uses, persuades, induces, or coerces a child, in prostitution, live performance, pose or model involving obscene sexual conduct.
  • Includes penetration, oral sex, objects into genitals, touching.
  • Any act which is for sexual arousal or gratification.
  • Sexual exploitation—child pornography, prostitution.
  • NOT normal caretaker responsibilities or demonstrations of affection.
sexual abuse40
Sexual Abuse

Sexually abused children may develop the following:

  • Unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
  • Seductiveness
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-injury
  • Secretiveness
  • Unusual aggressiveness
  • Suicidal behavior
sexual abuse41
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse may be suspected when the child:

  • Has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
  • Has nightmares or bedwetting
  • Experiences a sudden change in appetite
  • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Runs away
  • Reports sexual abuse by a parent or other adult caregiver
sexual abuse42
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse may be suspected when the parent or other caregiver:

  • Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children
  • Is secretive and isolated
  • Is jealous or controlling
sexual abuse43
Sexual Abuse

Who responds initially to:

  • Out of home sexual abuse (i.e. sports coach)
    • Law Enforcement
    • Referral to Child Welfare Services for assessment and/or community services, HOPES
  • In-home sexual abuse (i.e. mother’s boyfriend)
    • Joint response
      • Child Welfare Services
      • Law Enforcement
e physical abuse child under five
(e) Physical Abuse, Child Under Five
  • Child is under the age of five.
  • Severe physical abuse by a parent or parent reasonably should have known.
  • Single act could cause permanent disfigurement, disability, or death.
  • Physical abuse causes significant bleeding, deep bruising, or significant external or internal swelling.
  • More than one act of physical abuse, each causes bleeding, deep bruising, significant swelling, fracture, unconsciousness.
  • Willful, prolonged failure to provide adequate food.
f death of another child
(f) Death of Another Child

The child's parent or guardian caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.

g caretaker absent
(g) Caretaker Absent
  • No provision for support.
  • Physical custody voluntarily surrendered (guardianships).
  • Parent arrested or 5150 and cannot arrange for the care of the child.
  • Child left with someone unwilling or unable to provide care or support.
  • Whereabouts of the parent are unknown and reasonable efforts to locate the parent have been unsuccessful .
h adoption
(h) Adoption
  • The child is an orphan because parental rights were terminated
  • Adoption may be pending, but has not happened
i cruelty
(i) Cruelty
  • Act or acts of cruelty.
  • Parent or a member of his or her household.
  • Parent failed to protect and reasonably should have known that the child was in danger of being subjected to an act or acts of cruelty.
  • Example: repeatedly placing gun to the head of a child telling him you are going to kill him or her.
j sibling abuse neglect
(j) Sibling Abuse/Neglect
  • Child's sibling has been abused or neglected.


  • There is a substantial risk that the child will be abused or neglected.
  • Not used often because most cases will already fall under one of the other sections (a) – (i).
to intervene or not
Custody disputes

Substance abuse alone

Out-of-control children

Sexual activity between minors


Children fighting




Pregnancy of a minor, regardless of her age, does not in and of itself constitute the basis of a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse.

Penal Code, §11166(a).

To Intervene or Not?

In the following situations Child Welfare Services does not have the legal authority to intervene unless allegations of abuse or neglect are present.

to intervene or not61
To Intervene or Not?
  • However, a Home Visitor may respond to offer resources to a family:
    • To improve family self-sufficiency
    • To provide individualized assistance in-home
    • To provide a safe environment to practice new skills
    • To teach the use of available resources in the community
when to report
When To Report

Child abuse must be reported when a person who is a legally mandated reporter

“. . . has knowledge of or observes a child in his or 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 . . .”

Penal Code §11166(a)

reasonable suspicion
Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion occurs when

“. . . it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such 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 . . .”

Penal Code §11166(a)(1)

the suspected child abuse report
The Suspected Child Abuse Report

How to report

  • Imminent danger or immediate risk, call 911
  • Suspected child abuse or neglect, call 385-3000, Extension 5858
  • After Hours 722-9915
  • After reporting, the mandated reporter must complete the Suspected Child Abuse Report form.
  • Within 36 hours:
    • Fax Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) to 354-2518

Penal Code §11166(g)(3)

other reporting requirements
Other Reporting Requirements

The following information is also required when making the telephone report of suspected child abuse to the child welfare agency:

  • Name of the child.
  • Present locations of the child.
  • Nature and extent of the injury.
  • Any other information, including that which led the person to suspect child abuse, requested by the child welfare agency.

Penal Code §11167(a)

missing the mark
Missing the Mark

“Reporting the information regarding a case of possible child abuse or neglect to an employer, supervisor, school principal, school counselor, coworker, or other person shall not be a substitute for making a mandated report to an agency specified in Section 11165.9.”

Penal Code §11166(g)(3)

liability for failing to report
Liability for Failing to Report

Any person who fails to report an instance of child abuse, as required by the Child Abuse and Reporting Act, is guilty of a misdemeanor with a punishment not to exceed six months in jail, or a $1000 fine, or both.

Penal Code §11166(b)

immunity for reporting
Immunity for Reporting

Mandated reporters who report suspected cases of child abuse have absolute immunity, both civil and criminal, for making such reports.

Penal Code §11172

controlling confidentiality
Controlling Confidentiality

Confidentiality regarding the identity of the reporters, the reports, and the records maintained by child welfare agencies and the Department of Justice, Child Abuse Central Index is strictly controlled.

Penal Code §11167(d)

reporters confidentiality
Reporters’ Confidentiality

The identity of all persons who report known or suspected child abuse is confidential and may only disclosed as follows:

disclosure exceptions
Disclosure Exceptions
  • Between child protective agencies
  • To counsel representing the child welfare agency
  • To the child’s counsel
  • To the District Attorney (DA) in a criminal prosecution
  • To a licensed agency when abuse in out-of-home care
  • By court order
  • When the reporter waives confidentiality
feedback to mandated reporters
Feedback to Mandated Reporters

According to Penal Code §11170(b)(2), after the investigation is completed, the investigating agency must inform the mandated reporter of the results of the investigation and any action the agency is taking (usually within 30 days).

feedback to mandated reporters73


Feedback to Mandated Reporters
  • Three types of feedback
    • Form letter
    • Telephone call
    • In-person contact
  • Feedback
    • Information
      • Substantiated – case open
      • Inconclusive – possible abuse/neglect, not enough evidence to open a case
      • Unfounded – no abuse/neglect found