Statutes exist in all 50 states governing mandatory reporting procedures. Generally, these procedures require that a report should be made immediately upon learning of the abuse and the reports may be given either orally or written.

Who Should these Reports be Made to?

There are two agencies that these reports should be made to: child protective services or law enforcement.

I am Conducting an Investigation of a Child Abuse Report. What are my Responsibilities?

If you are investigating a child abuse report dealing with physical sexual abuse, you may want to involve law enforcement. Your investigation needs to be completed within a reasonably short period of time. Most States require that you share reports with other agencies such as social services and law enforcement as well as the prosecutor.

What Kind of Information Must be Included in a Report of Child Abuse?

You should include the name of the child, residence of the child, who the child's parents or guardian(s) are, how old the child is, the kind and amount of injuries the child has experienced, as well as any other relevant information.

Are There any Special Situations that Call for Different Procedures?

In cases such as the irregular death of a child or a child exposed to drugs, many states have enacted laws providing for different reporting procedures. About 31 states have passed laws requiring the reporting of irregular child deaths to a medical examiner or coroner. About 12 states have enacted laws that provide for the same reporting procedures but require drug exposure or a positive drug test the sole bases for reporting.