A Closer Look at Learning Issues

Mandated reporting is discussed in all four FORECAST simulations; it is especially highlighted in the Katie simulation. With their different backgrounds and experiences, learners often have general and specific questions about mandated reporting. Understanding how and when to report suspected child abuse and neglect is a critical component of education and training in child advocacy work. It is included in FORECAST’s Trauma-Informed Experiential and Reasoning Skills (TIERS) #3: Methodology: Execute Professional Tasks in a Trauma-Informed Manner.

Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect has existed for more than 50 years in the United States. All 50 states require certain types of professionals to report suspected abuse and has legal protections for reporters in place. Each state varies considerably, however, in terms of what is reportable and who is mandated to report. For example, in at least 18 states, every adult is a mandated reporter. Other states have established lists of professionals – primarily those who work directly with children – who are required to report suspected abuse and neglect. These lists vary; depending on the state, for example, members of clergy and domestic violence workers may be required to report.

We strongly recommend that prior to initiating a FORECAST simulation, instructors research and understand the relevant local reporting laws and procedures. The Child Welfare Information Gateway is a great resource and starting point. It includes a searchable database of state statutes. RAINN offers a searchable database that compares state laws on a variety of related topics.

Some instructors and/or learners might want to take a deeper dive into the issue of mandated reporting. In addition to the recommended readings referenced in the FORECAST simulation facilitators’ guides (for example, see readings recommended for Module 3 of the Katie simulation), these articles might also be helpful:

Pietrantonio, A., Wright, E., Gibson, K., Alldred, T., Jacobson, D., and Niec, A. (2013). Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect: Crafting a positive process for health professionals and caregivers. Child Abuse and Neglect, 2-3, 102-109.

Paulusci, V., Vandervort, F. & Lewis, J. (2016). Does changing mandated reporting laws improve child maltreatment reporting in large US counties? Children and Youth Services Review, 66, 170-179.

Kenny, M. (2018). Counselors’ mandated responsibility to report child maltreatment: A review of US laws. Journal of Counseling and Development, 96, 4, 372-387.

Krase, K. (2015). Child maltreatment reporting by educational personnel: Implications for racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. Children and Schools, 27, 2 89-99.

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Dorothy Haskell