Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Maryland

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-704

Persons required to report include the following:

  • Health practitioners 
  • Educators or human service workers
  • Police officers 

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-716

The Department of Human Services shall post on its website a free online course on the identification, prevention, and reporting of child abuse. See Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect. 

The topics discussed include the following:

  • Definitions of child abuse and neglect
  • The signs of physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse
  • Persons required to report suspected child abuse or neglect
  • The process for making a report
  • The information that needs to be included in a report
  • What happens after a report is made

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-705; 5-704.1

Any other person who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect must report. 

An individual may notify the local department or the appropriate law enforcement agency if the individual has reason to believe that a parent, guardian, or caregiver of a child allows the child to reside with or be in the regular presence of an individual, other than the child's parent or guardian, who is registered as a child sex offender and, based on additional information, poses a substantial risk of sexual abuse to the child. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Fam. Law § 5-704

A mandated reporter who is acting as a staff member of a hospital, public health agency, child care institution, juvenile detention center, school, or similar institution immediately shall notify and give all information required by this section to the head of the institution or the designee of the head. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-704; 5-705; 5-705.2

A mandatory reporter is required to report when, acting in a professional capacity, the person has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect. Other persons shall report when they have reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect.

A health-care practitioner involved in the delivery or care of a substance-exposed newborn shall make a report to the local department unless any of the following circumstances apply:

  • The practitioner has knowledge that the head of an institution or the designee of the head or another individual at that institution has made a report regarding the substance-exposed newborn.
  • The practitioner has verified that, at the time of delivery, the following apply:
    • The mother was using a controlled substance as currently prescribed for them by a licensed health-care practitioner.
    • The newborn does not display the effects of withdrawal from controlled substance exposure as determined by medical personnel.
    • The newborn does not display the effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
    • The newborn is not affected by substance use. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-704; 5-705

Mandatory reporters are required to report regardless of any other provision of law, including any law on privileged communications.

Only attorney-client and clergy-penitent privileges are permitted. 

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: Hum. Serv. Code § 1-202(c)

Any disclosure of a report or record concerning child abuse or neglect must make provisions to protect the identity of the reporter or any other person whose life or safety is likely to be endangered by disclosing the information.