What Are the Obligations of a Mandated Reporter?

  • Individuals are required to immediately notify the state Department of Social Services (DSS) whenever they have reasonable cause to believe a child under eighteen years of age may be a victim of abuse.
  • If you choose to immediately notify your superior (or some other person of authority) where you work, that person becomes responsible for notifying DSS of the suspected abuse; however, if your superior is not available, You must file a report with DSS.
  • The law is designed to always give a child the benefit of the doubt, so even if you are in doubt as to whether or not a child is actually being abused, you should still file a report - it could save a life!
  • Mandated reporters who report abuse are absolutely immune from any liability, civil or criminal, provided that they immediately report as required by the statute - this provision in the law is designed to encourage mandated reporters to file whenever they suspect a child is at risk.
  • Note that the law strictly forbids employers from penalizing an employee who files a report to DSS. Any employer who discharges, discriminates or takes any other negative action against his or her employee shall be reliable for triple damages and related attorneys fees!