Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Georgia

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-7-5; 16-12-100

The following persons are required to report: 

  • Physicians, physician assistants, residents, interns, hospital and medical personnel, podiatrists, dentists, nurses, or nurse's aides
  • Teachers, school administrators, school counselors, visiting teachers, school social workers, or school psychologists 
  • Psychologists, counselors, social workers, or marriage and family therapists 
  • Child welfare agency personnel (as that agency is defined by § 49-5-12) or child-counseling personnel
  • Child service organization personnel (includes any organization—whether public, private, for-profit, not-for-profit, or voluntary—that provides care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter to children)
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Reproductive health-care facility or pregnancy resource center personnel and volunteers
  • Persons who process or produce visual or printed matter 

The term 'school' means any public or private prekindergarten, elementary school, secondary school, technical school, vocational school, college, university, or institution of postsecondary education. 

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Training for mandatory reporters is not addressed in the laws and policies reviewed. 

The Division of Family and Children Resources provides a link to mandatory training on its website. The course, Mandated Reporters: Critical Links in Protecting Children in Georgia, includes the following topics:

  • The mandated reporter's role in reporting suspected abuse and neglect.
  • The physical and behavioral indicators of the legally recognized types of abuse and neglect in Georgia.
  • Groups of children that may be at higher risk of being abused or neglected.
  • The steps necessary to report suspected abuse or neglect.

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-7-5

Any other person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused may report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-7-5

If a person is required to report child abuse because that person attends to a child as part of the person's duties as an employee of or volunteer at a hospital, school, social agency, or similar facility, that person shall notify the person in charge of the facility, or the designated delegate thereof, and the person so notified shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with this section. An employee or volunteer who makes a report to the person designated shall be deemed to have fully complied with this subsection. 

Under no circumstances shall any person in charge of such hospital, school, agency, or facility—or the designated delegate thereof—to whom such notification has been made exercise any control, restraint, or modification—or make other changes to—the information provided by the reporter, although each of the aforementioned persons may be consulted prior to the making of a report and may provide any additional, relevant, and necessary information when making the report. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-7-5; 16-12-100

A report is required when either of the following apply:

  • A reporter has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse has occurred. 
  • A person who processes or produces visual or printed matter has reasonable cause to believe that the visual or printed matter submitted for processing or producing depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-7-5(g)

A mandated reporter must report regardless of whether the reasonable cause to believe that abuse has occurred or is occurring is based in whole or in part upon any communication to that person that is otherwise made privileged or confidential by law. However, a member of the clergy shall not be required to report child abuse reported solely within the context of confession or other similar communication required to be kept confidential under church doctrine or practice. When a clergy member receives information about child abuse from any other source, the clergy member shall comply with the reporting requirements of this section, even though the clergy member may have also received a report of child abuse from the confession of the perpetrator. 

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report

The reporter is not specifically required by statute to provide their name in the report. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Ann. Code § 49-5-41

Any release of records shall protect the identity of any person reporting child abuse.