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Child Abuse and Mandated Reporters – Part I

defense when charged with child abuse by CPS or ACSThere are a number of mandated reporters of child abuse and/or neglect. There are many mandated reporters in New York who have legal obligations to report suspected and/or potential child abuse to Child Protective Services. Mandated reporters include doctors, nurses, school nurses, teachers, counselors, psychologists, police officers, and guidance counselors. Many of the reports submitted by mandated reporters are based on innocent events which are sometimes retold by children at school which involve common bruises, bumps and lumps children get from their normal daily activities when they play with their friends. School personnel have the misguided belief that under New York State law they are required to file a report with Child Protective Services if there is any possibility, no matter how remote, that there has been child abuse or child neglect. Teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses and other school personnel, although well meaning, file numerous false reports with child protect services virtually every day. The large majority of these reports should not have been filed in the first place!

Although school personnel are mandated reporters, they do not have to report each and every possible event no matter how far fetched to Child Protective Services. Unfortunately, school personnel believe they have to report every possible bump and bruise they see on a child to Child Protective Services. The statute in New York gives teachers and other school personnel latitude to take into consideration that bumps and bruises on a child was not caused by child abuse or child neglect.

Cross Reporting of Child Abuse

In every situation where police are brought to a home, school or other location where there is a child or children and there is suspected child abuse, the police are required, even if they find no child abuse took place, to report the incident to Child Protective Services. This causes a second investigation by Child Protective Services with regard to the incident.

Child Protective Services are called to a home if they suspect child abuse has taken place. They also cross report to the police. This can cause a second investigation by police officers. The fact that Child Protective Services and police cross report to each other causes families throughout the State of New York to be subject to multiple investigations of suspected child abuse and/or child neglect if their children received a bump, scratch, black and blue mark or other mark on their body from athletic activities or while playing with their friends.child custody attorney

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