Reports of Children Suspected of Abuse
§ 49-2-801. Purpose.
It is the purpose of this article through the complete reporting of child abuse and neglect:
(1) To protect the best interests of the child;
(2) To offer protective services in order to prevent any further harm to the child or any other children living in the home;
(3) To stabilize the home environment, to preserve family life whenever possible;
(4) To promote adult responsibility for protecting children; and
(5) To encourage cooperation among the states to prevent future incidents of child abuse and neglect and in dealing with the problems of child abuse and neglect.
§ 49-2-803. Persons mandated to report suspected abuse and neglect; requirements.
(a) Any medical, dental, or mental health professional, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, school teacher or other school personnel, social service worker, child care or foster care worker, emergency medical services personnel, peace officer or law-enforcement official, humane officer, member of the clergy, circuit court judge, family court judge, employee of the Division of Juvenile Services, magistrate, youth camp administrator or counselor, employee, coach or volunteer of an entity that provides organized activities for children, or commercial film or photographic print processor who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is neglected or abused, including sexual abuse or sexual assault, or observes the child being subjected to conditions that are likely to result in abuse or neglect shall immediately, and not more than 24 hours after suspecting this abuse or neglect, report the circumstances to the Department of Health and Human Resources. In any case where the reporter believes that the child suffered serious physical abuse or sexual abuse or sexual assault, the reporter shall also immediately report to the State Police and any law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. Any person required to report under this article who is a member of the staff or volunteer of a public or private institution, school, entity that provides organized activities for children, facility, or agency shall also immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school, entity that provides organized activities for children, facility, or agency, or a designated agent thereof, who may supplement the report or cause an additional report to be made: Provided, That notifying a person in charge, supervisor, or superior does not exempt a person from his or her mandate to report suspected abuse or neglect.
(b) County boards of education and private school administrators shall provide all employees with a written statement setting forth the requirements contained in this section and shall obtain and preserve a signed acknowledgment from school employees that they have received and understand the reporting requirement.
(c) Nothing in this article is intended to prevent individuals from reporting suspected abuse or neglect on their own behalf. In addition to those persons and officials specifically required to report situations involving suspected abuse or neglect of children, any other person may make a report if that person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected in a home or institution or observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.
(d) The provisions of this section are not applicable to persons under the age of 18.
§49-2-812. Failure to report; penalty.
(a) Any person, official or institution required by this article to report a case involving a child known or suspected to be abused or neglected, or required by section eight hundred nine of this article to forward a copy of a report of serious injury, who knowingly fails to do so or knowingly prevents another person acting reasonably from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be confined in jail not more than ninety days or fined not more than $5,000, or both fined and confined.
(b) Any person, official or institution required by this article to report a case involving a child known or suspected to be sexually assaulted or sexually abused, or student known or suspected to have been a victim of any non-consensual sexual contact, sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion on school premises, who knowingly fails to do so or knowingly prevents another person acting reasonably from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail not more than six months or fined not more than $10,000, or both.
Year of enactment1977
Last Amended2018, 2015