Mandated Reporter Law in Connecticut
In Connecticut, certain people who supervise and/or frequently come into contact with children are mandated reporters. This means that they are required to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child, or if they suspect that a child is at “imminent risk of serious harm.”
Am I a Mandated Reporter?
The list of mandated reporters designated by law is as follows:
- Physicians, resident physicians, physician assistants and hospital interns
- Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses
- Dentists and dental hygienists
- Psychologists and other mental health professionals
- Camp directors and assistant camp directors
- Police officers, probation and parole officers
- Foster parents
- DCF employees
- Domestic violence counselors and Family Relations counselors
What are Mandated Reporters required to do?
Mandated reporters must report when they, in the course of their employment, have “reasonable cause to suspect or believe” a child has:
- Been abused or neglected
- Suffered an injury that is not accidental or is inconsistent with the explanation provided for the injury
- Been put in a situation of “imminent risk of serious harm.”
If you are a mandated reporter, these laws apply to you if the child/children in question is/are under the age of 18. However, if the child is under the care or custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), these laws apply to you if the child/children in question is/are under the age of 21.
If I am a Mandated Reporter, how do I report suspected abuse, neglect or imminent harm to a child?
A mandated reporter must call either DCF or law enforcement.
What information am I required to provide?
- Name and address of child and caregiver (if known).
- Child’s age and gender.
- Date and time of injuries, neglect that occurred and circumstances surrounding neglect.
- Nature and extent of injuries and any information related to previous injuries, including neglect.
- Any information that could help to establish the cause of the injury and identify the perpetrator.
- Reason why the reporter suspects a particular perpetrator.
What are the penalties if I am a Mandated Reporter and I Fail to Report?
Failure to report suspected child abuse, neglect, or suspected imminent harm is a crime. Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 17a-101a, Failure to Report is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine, or both. Read more about this statute here.
What are the definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect in Connecticut?
Child abuse involves:
- Intentionally inflicted physical injury
- Injuries inconsistent with provided explanations
- Evidence of maltreatment (such as malnutrition, cruelty, and/or sexual exploitation)
Child neglect involves:
- Denial of care (physically or emotionally)
- Harmful living conditions
How do I make a Report?
You can call law enforcement, but an officer will likely direct you to call DCF. The number for the DCF Careline is 1-800-842-2288. You must call within 12 hours of discovering the suspected abuse. You must file a written request, called a DCF 136 form, with DCF. The form can be found here: Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect.
Can I make an Anonymous Report?
No. You are required to provide your name when you make a report. However, you may request that your name not be disclosed without your consent. If you do this, your identity will only be disclosed to individuals/agencies mandated by law. These include:
- Law enforcement
- State’s attorney and assistant state’s attorney
- Defense attorney (if the person you make a report against is charged with a crime)
- State childcare licensing agency
- Director of a childcare institution, school or facility or superintendent
If you have any questions about whether you are a mandated reporter, or if someone has made a report against you, contact an attorney. Any statements that you make to any investigative agency can be held against you and result in serious consequences.