There are many people in your community who have a responsibility to ensure your child’s safety and well-being as part of their job. Most of them are what we call mandated reporters.
Mandated reporters are people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse. Generally, these are people who by the nature of their jobs come into contact with children on a regular basis, such as:
- Child care providers and preschool teachers
- Doctors and nurses
- Health and social service workers
- Teachers and school employees such as counselors and coaches
- Law enforcement authorities
- Members of the clergy
Many volunteers who work with children in programs such as summer camp, religious education and scouting programs are also mandated reporters. Visit our Who are Mandated Reporters? page to find out more about who is required to report suspected child abuse.
Pennsylvania recently passed several laws that provide tougher penalties to those who know about abuse but do not report it, and protect mandated reporters from retribution. The new laws also make it clearer exactly what procedures should be followed in reporting. It’s important for you as a parent to understand that making a report of suspected abuse does not mean the reporter is “out to get you” or that they are making the report to make trouble for you. They are concerned about your child’s safety and it is part of their job to report suspected child abuse.
Just because you are not a mandated reporter does not mean that you cannot report suspected abuse or must wait for a mandated reporter to do so. Mandated reporters have a legal obligation to report, but we all have a responsibility to get help for a child who is at risk of abuse or neglect.