If you employ mandated reporters, your state may require you by law to train them for the responsibility of reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.
Federal Law Requires Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
In 1974, Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to create a federal focus for preventing and responding to child abuse. CAPTA requires each State to have provisions or procedures for requiring certain individuals, known as mandated reporters, to report known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect.
State Laws for Mandated Reporting Vary
Because CAPTA allows each state to come up with its own provisions and procedures for mandated reporting, legal requirements vary.
In 47 states, for example, mandated reporters are designated by their profession. This often includes teachers, school personnel, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, childcare providers, law enforcement, and more.
In Indiana, New Jersey, and Wyoming, all persons are required to report, regardless of profession.
Are Employers Required to Provide Mandated Reporter Training?
Employer requirements to provide mandated reporter training also vary by state. Some states, such as California, Illinois, and Michigan, have passed legislation requiring employers to provide training for mandated reporters.
Here are a few of the examples of state legislation requiring employers to provide training:
IL SB1778 Implements Training Requirements for All Mandated Reporters
Passed in 2019, Illinois State Bill 1778 implements training requirements for mandated reporters, requiring all mandated reporters to complete training within their first 3 months of employment with additional training completed every three years. Under SB1778, training must be provided by a variety of State agencies and departments, including the Department of Children and Family Services, State Board of Education, Law Enforcement Training Standards Board, or any organization approved by the department to provide mandated reporter training.
MI HB4377 Requires All Employers to Provide Mandated Reporter Training
Michigan’s House Bill 4377 also passed in 2019, calling for comprehensive training materials to be created for mandated reporters and for those materials to be provided by any employer or organization that employs a mandatory reporter. Under the bill, employers can provide their own training, so long as it is similar in substance to the training materials created by the MI Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
CA AB1432 Requires Training for Educators and School Personnel
CA Assembly Bill 1432, which went into effect in 2015, requires the California Department of Education to develop and disseminate information regarding the detection and reporting of child abuse to all school districts, county offices of education, state special schools, state diagnostic centers, charter schools, and their personnel. The bill requires annual training and proof of completion of training.
As a result, these schools are required to provide annual training using an online training module to employees who are mandated, reporters.
CA AB1207 Requires Training for Daycare Facilities and Employees
Similarly, CA Assembly Bill 1207, which went into effect in 2018, requires the State Department of Social Services to develop and disseminate information to providers, administrators, and employees of licensed child daycare facilities regarding the detection and reporting of child abuse, and to provide training for those mandated reporters.
Why You Should Train Your Employees Even if the Law Doesn’t Require It
All states require individuals to be mandated reporters of child abuse. And 49 states impose serious penalties for mandated reporters who fail to report, which can include jail and financial penalties.
As an employer of mandated reporters, you’re employing people with a big responsibility to protect children. And your employees could suffer dire consequences if they fail at this role. By offering mandated reporter training to your employees, you’re equipping them to properly handle their responsibilities.
Since state legislation is constantly changing, there’s a good chance that your state may follow the lead of states such as California, Illinois, Michigan, and others and pass legislation in the near future requiring you to provide training.
You can be prepared for upcoming legislative changes – and protect your employees – by providing regular annual training for the mandated reporters in your employ.