Zachary Kaufman, Legal academic, political scientist, and social entrepreneur

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Abuse of Children - Reports and Investigations of Abuse and Neglect

United States

903: Reports required.

(a) Any person, agency, organization or entity who knows or in good faith suspects child abuse or neglect shall make a report in accordance with § 904 of this title. For purposes of this section, “person” shall include, but shall not be limited to, any physician, any other person in the healing arts including any person licensed to render services in medicine, osteopathy or dentistry, any intern, resident, nurse, school employee, social worker, psychologist, medical examiner, hospital, health-care institution, the Medical Society of Delaware or law-enforcement agency. In addition to and not in lieu of reporting to the Division of Family Services, any such person may also give oral or written notification of said knowledge or suspicion to any police officer who is in the presence of such person for the purpose of rendering assistance to the child in question or investigating the cause of the child’s injuries or condition.

(b) The Division shall inform any person required to report under this section of the person’s right to obtain information concerning the disposition of the report. The Division shall make information on the general disposition of the report available through the Division report line to any person required to report under this section.

904: Nature and content of report; to whom made

(a) Any report of child abuse or neglect required to be made under this chapter must be made by contacting the Child Abuse and Neglect Report Line for the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. An immediate oral report must be made by telephone or otherwise. Reports and the contents thereof including a written report, if requested, must be made in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Division, or in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted by the Division. An individual with knowledge of child abuse or neglect or knowledge that leads to a good faith suspicion of child abuse or neglect may not rely on another individual who has less direct knowledge to call the aforementioned report line.

(b) When a written report is made by a person required to report under § 903 of this title, the Division shall contact the person who made such report within 48 hours of the receipt of the report in order to ensure that full information has been received and to obtain any additional information, including medical records, which may be relevant to the contents of the report.

(c) When 2 or more persons who are required to report under § 903 of this title have joint knowledge of a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect, the telephone report may be made by 1 person with joint knowledge who was selected by mutual agreement of those persons involved. The report must include all persons with joint knowledge of the known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect at the time the report is made. Any person who has knowledge that the individual who was originally designated to report has failed to do so shall immediately make the report required under § 903 of this title.

914: Penalty for violation

(a) Whoever violates § 903 of this title shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for the first violation, and not to exceed $50,000 for any subsequent violation.

(b) In any action brought under this section, if the court finds a violation, the court may award costs and attorneys’ fees.

Year of enactment


Last Amended

2017, 2010