(a) The following persons who, in the performance of their occupational duties, their appointed duties under (8) of this subsection, or their volunteer duties under (9) of this subsection, have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of child abuse or neglect shall immediately report the harm to the nearest office of the department:
(1) practitioners of the healing arts;
(2) school teachers and school administrative staff members, including athletic coaches, of public and private schools;
(3) peace officers and officers of the Department of Corrections;
(4) administrative officers of institutions;
(5) child care providers;
(6) paid employees of domestic violence and sexual assault programs, and crisis intervention and prevention programs as defined in AS 18.66.990;
(7) paid employees of an organization that provides counseling or treatment to individuals seeking to control their use of drugs or alcohol;
(8) members of a child fatality review team established under AS 12.65.015(e) or 12.65.120 or the multidisciplinary child protection team created under AS 47.14.300;
(9) volunteers who interact with children in a public or private school for more than four hours a week.
(b) This section does not prohibit the named persons from reporting cases that have come to their attention in their nonoccupational capacities, nor does it prohibit any other person from reporting a child’s harm that the person has reasonable cause to suspect is a result of child abuse or neglect. These reports shall be made to the nearest office of the department.
(c) If the person making a report of harm under this section cannot reasonably contact the nearest office of the department and immediate action is necessary for the well-being of the child, the person shall make the report to a peace officer. The peace officer shall immediately take action to protect the child and shall, at the earliest opportunity, notify the nearest office of the department.
(d) This section does not require a religious healing practitioner to report as neglect of a child the failure to provide medical attention to the child if the child is provided treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by an accredited practitioner of the church or denomination.
(e) The department shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency if the department
(1) concludes that the harm was caused by a person who is not responsible for the child’s welfare;
(2) is unable to determine
(A) who caused the harm to the child; or
(B) whether the person who is believed to have caused the harm has responsibility for the child’s welfare; or
(3) concludes that the report involves
(A) possible criminal conduct under AS 11.41.410 — 11.41.458; or
(B) abuse or neglect that results in the need for medical treatment of the child.
(f) If a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abused or neglected and that (1) the harm was caused by a teacher or other person employed by the school or school district in which the child is enrolled as a student, (2) the harm occurred during an activity sponsored by the school or school district in which the child is enrolled as a student, or (3) the harm occurred on the premises of the school in which the child is enrolled as a student or on the premises of a school within the district in which the child is enrolled as a student, the law enforcement agency shall notify the chief administrative officer of the school or district in which the child is enrolled immediately after the agency determines that a child has been abused or neglected under the circumstances set out in this section, except that if the person about whom the report has been made is the chief administrative officer or a member of the chief administrative officer’s immediate family, the law enforcement agency shall notify the commissioner of education and early development that the child has been abused or neglected under the circumstances set out in this section. The notification must set out the factual basis for the law enforcement agency’s determination. If the notification involves a person in the teaching profession, as defined in AS 14.20.370, the law enforcement agency shall send a copy of the notification to the Professional Teaching Practices Commission.
(g) A person required to report child abuse or neglect under (a) of this section who makes the report to the person’s job supervisor or to another individual working for the entity that employs the person is not relieved of the obligation to make the report to the department as required under (a) of this section.
(h) This section does not require a person required to report child abuse or neglect under (a)(6) of this section to report mental injury to a child as a result of exposure to domestic violence so long as the person has reasonable cause to believe that the child is in safe and appropriate care and not presently in danger of mental injury as a result of exposure to domestic violence.
(i) This section does not require a person required to report child abuse or neglect under (a)(7) of this section to report the resumption of use of an intoxicant as described in AS 47.10.011(10) so long as the person does not have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of the resumption.
(j) This section does not require an athletic coach who is an unpaid volunteer to report child abuse or neglect under (a)(2) of this section unless the coach
(1) volunteers for more than
(A) four hours a week for four consecutive weeks; or
(B) 20 hours a week in a one-month period;
(2) has received the training required under AS 47.17.022; and
(3) has signed a form acknowledging that the coach is required to report child abuse or neglect under this section.
A person providing, either privately or commercially, film, photo, or visual or printed matter processing, production, or finishing services or computer installation, repair, or other services, or Internet or cellular telephone services who, in the process of providing those services, observes a film, photo, picture, computer file, image, or other matter and has reasonable cause to suspect that the film, photo, picture, computer file, image, or other matter visually depicts a child engaged in conduct described in AS 11.41.455(a) shall immediately report the observation to the nearest law enforcement agency and provide the law enforcement agency with all information known about the nature and origin of the film, photo, picture, computer file, image, or other matter.
A person who fails to comply with the provisions of AS 47.17.020 or 47.17.023 and who knew or should have known that the circumstances gave rise to the need for a report, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
Year of enactment2006