1. When any physician, medical examiner, coroner, dentist, chiropractor, optometrist, podiatrist, resident, intern, nurse, hospital or clinic personnel that are engaged in the examination, care, treatment or research of persons, and any other health practitioner, psychologist, mental health professional, social worker, day care center worker or other child-care worker, juvenile officer, probation or parole officer, jail or detention center personnel, teacher, principal or other school official, minister as provided by section 352.400, peace officer or law enforcement official, volunteer or personnel of a community service program that offers support services for families in crisis to assist in the delegation of any powers regarding the care and custody of a child by a properly executed power of attorney pursuant to sections 475.600 to 475.604, or other person with responsibility for the care of children has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect, that person shall immediately report to the division in accordance with the provisions of sections 210.109 to 210.183. No internal investigation shall be initiated until such a report has been made. As used in this section, the term “abuse” is not limited to abuse inflicted by a person responsible for the child’s care, custody and control as specified in section 210.110, but shall also include abuse inflicted by any other person.
2. If two or more members of a medical institution who are required to report jointly have knowledge of a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect, a single report may be made by a designated member of that medical team. Any member who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter immediately make the report. Nothing in this section, however, is meant to preclude any person from reporting abuse or neglect.
3. The reporting requirements under this section are individual, and no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit any reporting under this section. No person making a report under this section shall be subject to any sanction, including any adverse employment action, for making such report. Every employer shall ensure that any employee required to report pursuant to subsection 1 of this section has immediate and unrestricted access to communications technology necessary to make an immediate report and is temporarily relieved of other work duties for such time as is required to make any report required under subsection 1 of this section.
4. Notwithstanding any other provision of sections 210.109 to 210.183, any child who does not receive specified medical treatment by reason of the legitimate practice of the religious belief of the child’s parents, guardian, or others legally responsible for the child, for that reason alone, shall not be found to be an abused or neglected child, and such parents, guardian or other persons legally responsible for the child shall not be entered into the central registry. However, the division may accept reports concerning such a child and may subsequently investigate or conduct a family assessment as a result of that report. Such an exception shall not limit the administrative or judicial authority of the state to ensure that medical services are provided to the child when the child’s health requires it.
5. In addition to those persons and officials required to report actual or suspected abuse or neglect, any other person may report in accordance with sections 210.109 to 210.183 if such person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.
6. Any person or official required to report pursuant to this section, including employees of the division, who has probable cause to suspect that a child who is or may be under the age of eighteen, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, has died shall report that fact to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner. If, upon review of the circumstances and medical information, the medical examiner or coroner determines that the child died of natural causes while under medical care for an established natural disease, the coroner, medical examiner or physician shall notify the division of the child’s death and that the child’s attending physician shall be signing the death certificate. In all other cases, the medical examiner or coroner shall accept the report for investigation, shall immediately notify the division of the child’s death as required in section 58.452 and shall report the findings to the child fatality review panel established pursuant to section 210.192.
7. Any person or individual required to report may also report the suspicion of abuse or neglect to any law enforcement agency or juvenile office. Such report shall not, however, take the place of reporting to the division.
8. If an individual required to report suspected instances of abuse or neglect pursuant to this section has reason to believe that the victim of such abuse or neglect is a resident of another state or was injured as a result of an act which occurred in another state, the person required to report such abuse or neglect may, in lieu of reporting to the Missouri children’s division, make such a report to the child protection agency of the other state with the authority to receive such reports pursuant to the laws of such other state. If such agency accepts the report, no report is required to be made, but may be made, to the children’s division.
1. Any person violating any provision of sections 210.110 to 210.165 is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
2. Any person who intentionally files a false report of child abuse or neglect shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
3. Every person who has been previously convicted of making a false report to the children’s division or its predecessor agency, the division of family services, and who is subsequently convicted of making a false report under subsection 2 of this section is guilty of a class E felony and shall be punished as provided by law.
4. Evidence of prior convictions of false reporting shall be heard by the court, out of the hearing of the jury, prior to the submission of the case to the jury, and the court shall determine the existence of the prior convictions.
Year of enactment1975