Chapter 32A (Children's Code), Article 4 (Child Abuse and Neglect)
32-A-4-3: Duty to report child abuse and child neglect; responsibility to investigate child abuse or neglect; penalty; notification of plan of care.
A. Every person, including a licensed physician; a resident or an intern examining, attending or treating a child; a law enforcement officer; a judge presiding during a proceeding; a registered nurse; a visiting nurse; a schoolteacher; a school official; a social worker acting in an official capacity; or a member of the clergy who has information that is not privileged as a matter of law, who knows or has a reasonable suspicion that a child is an abused or a neglected child shall report the matter immediately to:
(1) a local law enforcement agency;
(2) the department; or
(3) a tribal law enforcement or social services agency for any Indian child residing in Indian country.
B. A law enforcement agency receiving the report shall immediately transmit the facts of the report and the name, address and phone number of the reporter by telephone to the department and shall transmit the same information in writing within forty-eight hours. The department shall immediately transmit the facts of the report and the name, address and phone number of the reporter by telephone to a local law enforcement agency and shall transmit the same information in writing within forty-eight hours. The written report shall contain the names and addresses of the child and the child’s parents, guardian or custodian, the child’s age, the nature and extent of the child’s injuries, including any evidence of previous injuries, and other information that the maker of the report believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries and the identity of the person responsible for the injuries. The written report shall be submitted upon a standardized form agreed to by the law enforcement agency and the department.
C. The recipient of a report under Subsection A of this section shall take immediate steps to ensure prompt investigation of the report. The investigation shall ensure that immediate steps are taken to protect the health or welfare of the alleged abused or neglected child, as well as that of any other child under the same care who may be in danger of abuse or neglect. A local law enforcement officer trained in the investigation of child abuse and neglect is responsible for investigating reports of alleged child abuse or neglect at schools, daycare facilities or child care facilities.
D. If the child alleged to be abused or neglected is in the care or control of or in a facility administratively connected to the department, the report shall be investigated by a local law enforcement officer trained in the investigation of child abuse and neglect. The investigation shall ensure that immediate steps are taken to protect the health or welfare of the alleged abused or neglected child, as well as that of any other child under the same care who may be in danger of abuse or neglect.
E. A law enforcement agency or the department shall have access to any of the records pertaining to a child abuse or neglect case maintained by any of the persons enumerated in Subsection A of this section, except as otherwise provided in the Abuse and Neglect Act.
F. A person who violates the provisions of Subsection A of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.
G. A finding that a pregnant woman is using or abusing drugs made pursuant to an interview, self-report, clinical observation or routine toxicology screen shall not alone form a sufficient basis to report child abuse or neglect to the department pursuant to Subsection A of this section. A volunteer, contractor or staff of a hospital or freestanding birthing center shall not make a report based solely on that finding and shall make a notification pursuant to Subsection H of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a person from reporting to the department a reasonable suspicion that a child is an abused or neglected child based on other criteria as defined by Section 32A-4-2 NMSA 1978, or a combination of criteria that includes a finding pursuant to this subsection.
H. A volunteer, contractor or staff of a hospital or freestanding birthing center shall:
(1) complete a written plan of care for a substance-exposed newborn as provided for by department rule and the Children’s Code; and
(2) provide notification to the department. Notification by a health care provider pursuant to this paragraph shall not be construed as a report of child abuse or neglect.
I. As used in this section, “notification” means informing the department that a substance-exposed newborn was born and providing a copy of the plan of care that was created for the child; provided that notification shall comply with federal guidelines and shall not constitute a report of child abuse or neglect.
Year of enactment1978