Chapter 50-25.1 (Child Abuse and Neglect)
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect the health and welfare of children by encouraging the reporting of children who are known to be or suspected of being abused or neglected; the providing of adequate services for the protection and treatment of abused and neglected children and to protect them from further harm; the identifying of the cause of children’s deaths, when possible; the identifying of those circumstances that contribute to children’s deaths; and the recommending of changes in policy, practices, and law to prevent children’s deaths.
50-25.1-03: Persons required and permitted to report – To whom reported.
1. Any dentist; optometrist; dental hygienist; medical examiner or coroner; tier 1 mental
health professional, tier 2 mental health professional, tier 3 mental health professional,
or tier 4 mental health professional as defined under section 25-01-01; or any other
medical or mental health professional, religious practitioner of the healing arts,
schoolteacher or administrator, school counselor, child care worker, foster parent,
police or law enforcement officer, juvenile court personnel, probation officer, division of
juvenile services employee, licensed social worker, family service specialist, child care
licensor, or member of the clergy having knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect
a child is abused or neglected, or has died as a result of abuse or neglect, shall report
the circumstances to the department if the knowledge or suspicion is derived from
information received by that individual in that individual’s official or professional
capacity. A member of the clergy, however, is not required to report such
circumstances if the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received in the
capacity of spiritual adviser.
2. Any person having reasonable cause to suspect a child is abused or neglected, or has
died as a result of abuse or neglect, may report such circumstances to the department.
3. A person having knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect a child is abused or
neglected, based on images of sexual conduct by a child discovered on a workplace
computer, shall report the circumstances to the department.
50-25.1-04: Method of reporting
All persons mandated or permitted to report cases of known or suspected child abuse or neglect shall immediately cause oral or written reports to be made to the department or the department’s designee. Oral reports must be followed by written reports within forty-eight hours if so requested by the department or the department’s designee. A requested written report must include information specifically sought by the department if the reporter possesses or has reasonable access to that information. Reports involving known or suspected institutional child abuse or neglect must be made and received in the same manner as all other reports made under this chapter.
50-25.1-09: Immunity from liability
Any person, other than the alleged violator, participating in good faith in the making of a report, assisting in an investigation, assisting or furnishing information in a child protection assessment, assisting or furnishing information in an alternative response assessment, assisting or furnishing information in a family services assessment, or in providing protective services under this chapter or who is a member of the child fatality review panel, is immune from any liability, civil or criminal, except for criminal liability as provided by section 50-25.1-13, that otherwise might result from reporting the alleged case of abuse, neglect, or death resulting from child abuse or neglect. For the purpose of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of any person required to report cases of child abuse, neglect, or death resulting from abuse or neglect must be presumed.
50-25.1-10: Abrogation of privileged communications.
Any privilege of communication between husband and wife or between any professional person and the person’s patient or client, except between attorney and client, is abrogated and does not constitute grounds for preventing a report to be made or for excluding evidence in any proceeding regarding child abuse, neglect, or death resulting from abuse or neglect resulting from a report made under this chapter.
50-25.1-13: Penalty for failure to report – Penalty and civil liability for false reports.
Any person required by this chapter to report or to supply information concerning a case of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or death resulting from abuse or neglect who willfully, as defined in section 12.1-02-02, fails to do so is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Any person who willfully, as defined in section 12.1-02-02, makes a false report, or provides false information which causes a report to be made, under this chapter is guilty of a class B misdemeanor unless the false report is made to a law enforcement official, in which case the person who causes the false report to be made is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. A person who willfully makes a false report, or willfully provides false information that causes a report to be made, under this chapter is also liable in a civil action for all damages suffered by the person reported, including exemplary damages.
Year of enactment1975
Last Amended2019, 1995