Who Can Qualify as Mandated Reporters?

April 10, 2024
Contact Our South Jersey DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker
Contact Our South Jersey DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker

Some people have a legal obligation to report certain types of child abuse to the authorities. These people act as professionals who are often the first line of defense against abuse. Not only do they have a professional obligation to report abuse, but they may also get in legal trouble if they fail to do so. If these professionals have not upheld their duties, they may even be liable in a lawsuit filed by an abuse victim.

At the same time, a parent’s life may be turned upside down when they are the ones who are accused of child abuse. The fact that professionals must report abuse under the threat of penalty means that parents may need to defend themselves when the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) comes knocking at their door.

Professionals Who Need to Report Suspected Child Abuse

Multiple types of abuse may be required to be reported to the authorities. One of the most common instances in which a professional may be in trouble for their failure to report is child abuse. A child’s safety depends on someone who can speak up for them because the child often cannot report the abuse themselves. Here are some professionals who may be obligated to report child abuse to the authorities:

  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Schools
  • Doctors
  • Clergy

Other people may be vulnerable to abuse that must be reported. For example, seniors are a very vulnerable population. They are at risk of various types of abuse that can include physical, sexual, and financial. Some who are in contact with the senior have a professional obligation to report the abuse.

Professionals Must Report Suspicions of Abuse

Note that the person reporting the abuse is not obligated to perform a complete investigation before they make the report. Instead, they are only obligated to report their suspicion that something is happening based on their own experience. They may have noticed signs of potential abuse that they cannot overlook.

In addition, certain protections are afforded to professionals who must report suspected abuse. They only have to report their suspicions to the authorities, and they do not have to share what they have reported with the parents or the fact that they reported anything at all. This is certainly the case if the abuse allegation involves a parent. Here, the law is concerned first and foremost with the safety of the child, and the confidentiality of the reporting can help further that aim.

Further, the professional must also know the appropriate authority to which they should report the abuse. For example, any issues involving children in New Jersey should be reported to the DCPP.

Professionals May Face Serious Consequences for Failure to Report Abuse

Not only can the professional who has failed to report the abuse lose their ability to do their job, but they can also face criminal charges. Many states have laws that make the failure to report abuse a misdemeanor that could even result in prison time. Even if the punishment is not that harsh, the professional would still face serious consequences, of which they would be living for a considerable amount of time.

Contact Our South Jersey DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker

Our South Jersey DCPP lawyers at The Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker help clients with complex matters that involve allegations of child abuse and neglect. We can help parents defend themselves when they are being unfairly and wrongfully accused of harming a child. Call us at 856-210-9776 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we help clients in South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.

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