(a) (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, notwithstanding any other provision of law, including a law on privileged communications, a person in this State other than a health practitioner, police officer, or educator or human service worker who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect shall notify the local department or the appropriate law enforcement agency.
(2) A person is not required to provide notice under paragraph (1) of this subsection:
(i) in violation of the privilege described under § 9–108 of the Courts Article;
(ii) if the notice would disclose matter communicated in confidence by a client to the client’s attorney or other information relating to the representation of the client; or
(iii) in violation of any constitutional right to assistance of counsel.
(3) A minister of the gospel, clergyman, or priest of an established church of any denomination is not required to provide notice under paragraph (1) of this subsection if the notice would disclose matter in relation to any communication described in § 9–111 of the Courts Article and:
(i) the communication was made to the minister, clergyman, or priest in a professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the minister, clergyman, or priest belongs; and
(ii) the minister, clergyman, or priest is bound to maintain the confidentiality of that communication under canon law, church doctrine, or practice.
(b) (1) An agency to which a report of suspected abuse or neglect is made under subsection (a) of this section shall immediately notify the other agency.
(2) This subsection does not prohibit a local department and an appropriate law enforcement agency from agreeing to cooperative arrangements.
(c) A report made under subsection (a) of this section may be oral or in writing.
(d) (1) To the extent possible, a report made under subsection (a) of this section shall include the information required by § 5–704(c) of this subtitle.
(2) A report made under subsection (a) of this section shall be regarded as a report within the provisions of this subtitle, whether or not the report contains all of the information required by § 5–704(c) of this subtitle.
If an agency participating in an investigation under § 5–706 of this subtitle has substantial grounds to believe that a person has knowingly failed to report suspected abuse or neglect as required by § 5–704 of this subtitle, the agency shall:
(1) file a complaint with the appropriate licensing board in accordance with the provisions of the Health Occupations Article if the person is a health practitioner;
(2) file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency if the person is a police officer; or
(3) file a complaint with the county board of education or the appropriate agency, institution, or licensed facility at which the person is employed if the person is an educator or a human service worker.
Year of enactment2016
Last Amended2011, 2016