Child Abuse

Mandated Reporting

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 119, Section 51A, defines a mandated reporter as someone " . . . who, in his professional shall have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare including sexual abuse, or from neglect, including malnutrition, or who is determined to be physically dependent upon an addictive drug at birth, shall immediately report such condition to the department by oral communication and by making a written report within forty-eight hours after such oral communication."

Who is a Mandated Reporter?

Review details defining a mandated reporter.

What Are the Obligations of a Mandated Reporter?

View a listing of obligations a mandated reporter has to fulfill.

What Happens When I Call DCF?

Find out what steps will follow your contact with the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

How Do I File a Report or Ask for More Help?

Find out how to locate additional information.


A mandated reporter suspecting abuse must notify DCF immediately by telephone and follow up with a written report within 48 hours. There are no exceptions! The law is clear: professionals who fail to report suspected abuse are subject to criminal prosecution and a $1,000 fine.