Mandated Reporter/Abuse and Neglected Child Reporting
The Abuse and Neglected Child Reporting Act (1982) mandates that suspicion of child abuse or neglect be reported to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The law covers all children up to age 18.
According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Manual for mandated reporters, mandated reporters can be classified in seven categories: medical, school, social service/mental health, law enforcement, coroner/medical examiner, child care personnel, and members of the clergy. The Manual provides that mandated reporters are persons who work in one of the preceding seven categories and who may work with children in the course of their duties. Neither the Act nor its regulations state that the work must be paid.
All parish and school personnel, including but not limited to, teachers, PSR catechists, catechists, youth leaders and youth volunteers, coaches, and administrative staff, principals and DRE's, CRE=s, directors and staff assistants of day care centers and nursery schools, child care workers and aides, foster parents, agency homemakers, registered psychologists and volunteers who work with children to report in the same manner as mandated reporters.
All mandated reporters are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect to DCFS hotline immediately. In addition a written confirmation must also be mailed to DCFS and sent on special forms available from a local DCFS office or by a confirmation letter stating the essential facts within 48 hours of the Hotline call.
The DCFS may ask that licenses/certificates be suspended and/or revoked if it has proof that professional personnel had knowledge of child abuse and/or neglect and did not report same. When a suspected case is reported to the DCFS, the person reporting the case should inform his/her appropriate authority.
By law, information cannot be withheld on grounds preserving confidentiality. All persons who are mandated to report suspected abuse and neglect are presumed to be acting in good faith. Thus, they are immune from legal liability as a result of a report.
It should be noted that the protection of children is the responsibility of the entire community and that the law provides that anyone may make a report to the Hotline. Therefore, our Diocesan Child Protection Policy requires all parties involved with youth are to follow this policy.
Adopted: March 2, 1989
Revised: November 27, 2012
The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton
Bishop of Belleville