Location:
CHILD ABUSE;

OLR Research Report


June 24, 2010

 

2010-R-0270

SELECTED MANDATED REPORTER LAWS

By: Susan Price, Senior Legislative Attorney

You asked why Connecticut's mandated reporter statutes were passed and if there was a taskforce involved with the issue before they became law. You also asked for a chronology of legislative changes to several of the mandated reporter statutes (CGS 17a-101, -103, and -106).

SUMMARY

Mandated reporters are statutorily designated professionals who are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect they encounter during the regular performance of their job duties. The 1974 federal Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (P.L. 93-247), which partially reimburses states for the cost of foster care and child abuse services, may have been a catalyst for Connecticut's mandated reporter statutes (although the state's child abuse statutes date back to at least 1895 (1895 Ch. 298 2). CAPTA set minimum standards that states had to meet to qualify for federal funding. By the end of the 1970s, all states had enacted some form of mandated reporter statute.

We did not locate a state task force that preceded the Connecticut mandated reporter statutes your constituent asked about. These were first passed in 1965 (CGS 17a-101), 1973 (CGS 17a-103), and 1975 (CGS 17a-106). As shown in Table 1 below, CGS 17a—101 has been most frequently amended, followed by 17a-103. Section 17a-106 has had two minor changes since its 1975 enactment.

CGS 17A-101

In Connecticut, people working in certain professions that regularly bring them into direct contact with children and parents must report suspected child abuse or neglect using the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) telephone hotline. Mandated reporters who fail to do so are subject to education and training requirements overseen by DCF. Currently, those holding the following positions are statutorily mandated reporters:

1. hospital resident and licensed physician or surgeon;

2. registered and licensed professional or practical nurse;

3. medical examiner;

4. dentist and dental hygienist;

5. psychologist;

6. intramural and interscholastic athletic coach;

7. school teacher, principal, superintendent, guidance counselor, paraprofessional, and coach;

8. social worker;

9. police officer;

10. juvenile or adult parole or probation officer;

11. member of the clergy;

12. pharmacist;

13. physical therapist;

14. optometrist;

15. chiropractor or podiatrist;

16. mental health professional or physician assistant;

17. anyone who is a licensed or certified emergency medical services provider or alcohol and drug counselor;

18. licensed marital and family therapist or professional counselor;

19. sexual assault or battered women's counselor;

20. anyone paid to care for children in any public or private facility;

21. DCF employee;

22. Department of Public Health employee responsible for licensing day care facilities or youth camps; and

23. the child advocate or her employee.

CGS 17A-103

This law deals primarily with the interrelationship between DCF and the police in child abuse and neglect cases. It permits people who are not mandated reporters and off-duty mandated reporters to report suspected abuse or neglect, orally or in writing, to DCF's hotline or to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Calls to the hotline are recorded. The law also requires DCF to notify the police when a person knowingly makes a false report.

Finally, the law requires DCF to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours after receiving a report that a child has:

1. died;

2. been sexually assaulted or exploited; or

3. suffered brain damage, loss or serious impairment of a bodily function or organ; or a serious nonaccidental injury.

CGA 17A-106

This statute requires the following agencies and officials to cooperate to prevent, identify, and investigate child abuse:

1. all law enforcement officials;

2. courts of competent jurisdiction;

3. school personnel; and

4. state agencies providing human services in relation to preventing, identifying, and investigating child abuse and neglect.

Table 1: Chronology of Selected Mandated Reporter Statutes

Year/Statute

17a-101

17a-103

17a-106

1965

Requires hospital physicians, residents, and interns to immediately report reasonable suspicion that child under age 18 they are examining or treating has serious injuries inflicted other than by accidental means to :

Person in charge of the hospital (if reporter is on staff)

State commissioner of health or welfare, local police department, or resident state police trooper

Requires oral report to be followed as soon as possible with written report

Provides civil and criminal immunity for reports made in good faith

(PA 580)

   

1967

Adds as mandated reporters:

teachers,

principals, and

social workers

(PA 317)

   

1969

Adds as mandated reporters

licensed practical nurses

(PA 25)

   

1971

Adds as mandated reporters:

medical examiners,

police officers, and

clergymen

Articulates state policy on child abuse and neglect prevention

Expands circumstances when report must be made

Identifies to whom oral and written reports must be directed

(PA 216)

   

1973

Adds as mandated reporters:

dentists,

psychologists, and

school guidance counselors

Adds penalty for failing to report suspected abuse

Requires physicians to notify parents when child abuse or neglect is suspected

Extends hospital hold for suspected abused or neglected child from 72 to 96 hours

Adds description of skills child protection attorneys must possess

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 73-205)

Same as for 17a-101

(PA 73-205)

 

1974

Adds as mandated reporters:

coroners,

osteopaths,

optometrists,

chiropractors,

podiatrists,

day care center employees, and

mental health professionals

Makes legal representation of abused and neglected child mandatory

(PA 74-293)

   

1975

Makes minor and conforming changes

(PA 75-270), (PA 75-420)

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 75-420)

Requires law enforcement, courts, and appropriate human services agencies to cooperate in preventing, identifying, and investigating child abuse

(PA 75-384)

Adds as reportable injury

emotional maltreatment

Permits child's attorney to also act as guardian ad litem (ie., to simultaneously represent both the child's legal and best interests)

Clarifies confidentiality rules

Adds another penalty for failure to report

(PA 75-384)

1976

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 76-27)

   
 

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 76-420)

   

1977

Adds as reportable injuries:

abuse of child by person responsible for his or her health or welfare or care by a person given access to the child by responsible person as reportable injury and

child neglect

(PA 77-384)

Requires mandated reporting of children “in danger” of abuse and neglect

(PA 77-308)

 

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 77-614)

1978

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 78-303)

   

1979

 

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 79-631)

 

1980

Deletes as mandated reporters:

coroners

(PA 80-190)

   

1981

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 81-91, PA 81-472)

   

1982

Substitutes sexual abuse and exploitation for sexual molestation as example of condition that is the result of maltreatment

(PA 82-203)

   

1983

   

Adds school personnel

(PA 83-43)

1986

Adds requirement for commissioner to immediately inform appropriate law enforcement agency of reports of child abuse1

(PA 86-337)

   

1988

Adds as mandated reporters:

physician assistants,

certified substance abuse counselors, and

certified marriage and family counselors

(PA 88-218)

   

Adds school employees as possible perpetrators of abuse

Specifies reporting and investigation procedure when school employee is suspect

Specifies consequences of employee being convicted of child abuse or neglect

(PA 88-333)

1989

Requires commissioner and law enforcement to notify each other when either receives an oral report about serious physical abuse or sexual abuse

Allows physicians to examine and perform diagnostic tests to confirm abuse without parental consent

Requires commissioner to disclose certain information in the child abuse registry to the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee

(PA 89-160)

   

1992

Adds as mandated reporters:

school paraprofessionals

Adds that notice to State Department of Education is required when abuse or neglect of student is reported

(PA 92-76)

   

1993

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 93-340)

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 93-246)

 

Adds as mandated reporters:

dental hygienists,

pharmacists,

physical therapists, and

sexual assault and battered women's counselors

Requires notification of school superiors when school employee convicted of risk of injury to a minor

Requires notification of chief state's attorney when abuser holds certificate from the State Department of Education

(PA 93-340)

1995

Adds provision that guardian ad litem need not be attorney

(PA 95-103)

   

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 95-289)

1996

Lists mandated reporters and eliminates rest of statute2

Adds provision requiring training and education program to be developed for prompt identification of abuse and neglect

(PA 96-246)

Deletes contents of written or oral report, investigation, and immunity provisions and adds language that requires the commissioner to use best efforts to identify hotline reporter when report comes from a person other than a mandated reporter

Makes minor and conforming changes

(PA 96-246)

Makes minor and technical changes

96-194

1997

 

Adds language for reports made by mandated reporters arising from events occurring when the reporter was not working in official capacity

Permits disclosure of the identity of a person who knowingly makes a false report

Gives department 24 hours to report to law enforcement a child's death, sexual assault, brain damage, or loss, serious impairment of bodily function or organ, sexual exploitation, or serious nonaccidental physical injury

(PA 97-319)

 

1999

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 99-102)

   

2000

Adds as mandated reporters:

the child advocate and her employees

(PA 00-49)

   

2002

Adds as mandated reporters:

intramural and interscholastic coaches

(PA 02-106)

   

Makes minor and technical changes

(PA 02-138)

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1 For ease of reference we refer to the “commissioner” throughout this chart. In fact, a number of state agency commissioners have been responsible for implementing mandated reporter statutes in the years covered by this table.

2 In 1996, the legislature reordered and re-numbered the mandated reporter statutes. Many substantive provisions of both CGS 101 and -103 were transferred to new statutes.