Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Iowa

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 232.69; 728.14

The following persons are required to report:

  • Health practitioners 
  • Social workers or psychologists
  • School employees, certified paraeducators, coaches, or instructors employed by community colleges 
  • Employees or operators of health-care facilities, child care centers, Head Start programs, family development and self-sufficiency grant programs, substance use disorder programs or facilities, juvenile detention or juvenile shelter care facilities, foster care facilities, or mental health centers 
  • Employees of department institutions listed in § 218.1
  • An employee or operator of a juvenile detention or juvenile shelter care facility
  • Peace officers, counselors, or mental health professionals
  • An employee or operator of a provider of services to children funded under a federally approved medical assistance home and community-based services waiver
  • Employees, operators, owners, or other persons who perform duties for certified children's residential facilities 
  • A licensed massage therapist
  • Commercial film and photographic print processors 

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Ann. Stat. § 232.69(3)

A person required to report, other than a physician whose professional practice does not regularly involve providing primary health care to children, shall complete 2 hours of training relating to the identification and reporting of child abuse within 6 months of initial employment. Within 1 month of initial employment, the person shall obtain a statement of the abuse reporting requirements from their or, if self-employed, from the Department of Health and Human Services. The person shall complete at least 2 hours of additional child abuse identification and reporting training every 3 years. 

The core training curriculum relating to the identification and reporting of child abuse shall be developed and provided by the department. A reporter's employer may provide supplemental training, specific to identification and reporting of child abuse as it relates to the person's professional practice, in addition to the core training provided by the department.

The department offers information about reporting requirements and links to training programs on its Mandatory Reporters webpage. 

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.69

Any other person who believes that a child has been abused may report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 232.70; 232.73A

The employer or supervisor of a person who is a mandatory or permissive reporter shall not apply a policy, work rule, or other requirement that interferes with the person making a report of child abuse. 

An employer shall not take retaliatory action against an employee as a reprisal for the employee's participation in good faith in making a report, photograph, or x-ray; in the performance of a medically relevant test pursuant to this chapter; or in aiding and assisting in an assessment of a child abuse report. This section does not apply to disclosure of information that is prohibited by statute.

For purposes of this section, 'retaliatory action' includes, but is not limited to, an employer's action to discharge an employee or to take or fail to act regarding an employee's appointment or proposed appointment to a position in employment, to take or fail to act regarding an employee's promotion or proposed promotion to a position in employment, or to fail to provide an advantage in a position in employment.

This section may be enforced through a civil action, as follows:

  • A person who violates this section is liable to an aggrieved employee for affirmative relief, including reinstatement, with or without back pay, or any other equitable relief the court deems appropriate, including attorney fees and costs.
  • When a person commits, is committing, or proposes to commit an act in violation of this section, an injunction may be granted through an action in district court to prohibit the person from continuing such acts. The action for injunctive relief may be brought by an aggrieved employee or the county attorney.

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 232.69; 728.14

A report is required when any of the following apply:

  • A health practitioner, in the scope of their professional practice, examines, attends, or treats a child and reasonably believes the child has been abused. 
  • A health practitioner receives information confirming that a child is infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
  • A reporter, in the scope of their professional practice or employment responsibilities, examines, attends, counsels, or treats a child and reasonably believes that the child has been abused. 
  • A commercial film or photographic print processor has knowledge of or observes a visual depiction of a minor engaged in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of a prohibited sexual act. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.74

Any statute or rule of evidence that excludes or makes privileged the testimony of a spouse against the other spouse or the testimony of a health practitioner or mental health professional as to confidential communications do not apply to evidence regarding a child's injuries or the cause of the injuries in any judicial proceeding, civil or criminal, resulting from a report about suspected child maltreatment.

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.70

The report shall contain the name and address of the person making the report. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.71B

A person named in a report shall be informed of the complaint or allegation made regarding the person. The person shall be informed in a manner that protects the confidentiality rights of the individual who reported the child abuse or provided information as part of the assessment process.