(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.
(a) In this section, “local department” means a department of social services for a county in this State.
(b) The following provisions of this subtitle shall apply to the reporting of suspected abuse or neglect under this section:
(1) except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the definitions set forth in § 5-701 of this subtitle;
(2) the provisions relating to the confidentiality of reports specified in § 5-707(a)(1) and (2) of this subtitle; and
(3) the provisions relating to immunity from civil liability or criminal penalty specified in § 5-708 of this subtitle.
(c) (1) If suspected abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred outside of this State and the victim is currently a child who lives outside of this State, a person who would be required to report suspected abuse or neglect under the provisions of § 5-704 or § 5-705 of this subtitle shall report the suspected abuse or neglect to any local department in accordance with paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(2) A person described in § 5-704 of this subtitle shall make:
(i) an oral report, by telephone or direct communication, as soon as possible; and
(ii) a written report not later than 48 hours after the contact, examination, attention, or treatment that caused the person to believe that the child had been subjected to abuse or neglect.
(3) A person described in § 5-705 of this subtitle shall make an oral or a written report.
(4) To the extent possible, a report under this subsection shall include the information specified in § 5-704(c) of this subtitle.
(d) Promptly after receiving a report of suspected abuse or neglect under this section, the local department shall forward the report to the appropriate agency outside of this State that is authorized to receive and investigate reports of suspected abuse or neglect.
(a) An individual may not intentionally prevent or interfere with the making of a report of suspected abuse or neglect required by § 5–704 or § 5–705.1(c)(2) of this subtitle.
(b) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.
In addition to any other provision of law relating to child abuse and neglect, a local department that receives a report of suspected child abuse under § 5–704 or § 5–705 of this subtitle shall notify the State Superintendent of Schools’ designee within 48 hours if the report concerns:
(1) a family child care home or large family child care home; or
(2) a child care center.
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.
Any person who makes or participates in making a report of abuse or neglect under § 5–704, § 5–705, or § 5–705.1 of this subtitle or a report of substantial risk of sexual abuse under § 5–704.1 of this subtitle or participates in an investigation or a resulting judicial proceeding shall have the immunity described under § 5–620 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article from civil liability or criminal penalty.
Year of enactment2016
Last Amended2011, 2016