Cross-Reporting Among Agencies That Respond to Child Abuse and Neglect - Massachusetts

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Cross-Reporting Between Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement

Citation: Gen. Laws Ch. 119, § 51B(k)-(l)

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) shall notify and shall transmit copies of substantiated § 51A reports and its written evaluations and determinations to the district attorney for the county in which the child resides and in which the suspected abuse or neglect occurred, and to the local law enforcement authorities in the city or town in which the child resides and in which the suspected abuse or neglect occurred, when DCF has reasonable cause to believe that one of the conditions listed below resulted from abuse or neglect.

DCF immediately shall report to the district attorney and local law enforcement authorities listed above when early evidence indicates there is reasonable cause to believe that one of the conditions listed below resulted from abuse or neglect:

  • A child has died or has suffered brain damage, loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function or organ, substantial disfigurement, or serious physical injury, including, but not limited to, a fracture of any bone, a severe burn, an impairment of any organ, or an injury requiring the child to be placed on life-support systems.
  • A child has been sexually assaulted.
  • A child has been sexually exploited, is a sexually exploited child, or a child who is otherwise a human trafficking victim.
  • Any other disclosure of physical abuse involving physical evidence that may be destroyed, any current disclosure by a child of sexual assault, or the presence of physical evidence of sexual assault.

No provision relating to confidential data or confidential communications shall prohibit DCF from making such notifications or from providing to the district attorney or local law enforcement authorities any information obtained under this section. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent DCF from notifying a district attorney relative to any incident reported to DCF under § 51A or to limit the prosecutorial power of a district attorney.

If DCF substantiates a report alleging that abuse or neglect occurred at a facility approved, owned, operated, or funded, in whole or in part, by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Early Education and Care, Department of Mental Health, Department of Developmental Services, Department of Public Health, or Department of Youth Services, DCF shall notify the Office of the Child Advocate and the affected department, in writing, by transmitting a copy of the report filed under § 51A and DCF's written evaluation and written determination.

If DCF substantiates a report alleging that abuse or neglect was committed by an individual who was employed at a facility approved or licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care, then the department shall notify the Office of the Child Advocate and the Department of Early Education and Care, in writing, by transmitting a copy of the report filed under § 51A and DCF's written evaluation and written determination.

If DCF is aware of a licensing violation in any such facility, DCF shall immediately notify the affected department.

No provision of law shall prohibit the following:

  • DCF from transmitting copies of reports filed under § 51A or its written evaluations and written determinations to the Office of the Child Advocate or the affected departments
  • DCF, the Office of the Child Advocate, and the affected departments from coordinating activities and sharing information for the purposes of this section or for investigating a licensing violation
  • DCF's employees from testifying at administrative hearings held by the affected department in connection with a licensing violation

Other Reporting Requirements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.