Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Missouri

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 210.115; 352.400; 573.215

Professionals required to report include the following:

  • Physicians, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, residents, interns, nurses, hospital and clinic personnel, or other health practitioners 
  • Daycare center workers or other child care workers, teachers, principals, or other school officials 
  • Psychologists, mental health professionals, or social workers 
  • Ministers, including clergypersons, priests, rabbis, Christian Science practitioners, or other persons serving in a similar capacity for any religious organization 
  • Juvenile officers, probation or parole officers, peace officers, law enforcement officials, or jail or detention center personnel
  • Volunteers or personnel of community service programs that offer support services for families in crisis to assist in the delegation of any powers regarding the care and custody of a child by a properly executed power of attorney
  • Other persons with responsibility for the care of children 
  • Film and photographic print processors; computer providers, installers, or repair persons; or internet service providers 

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.155

The Children's Division shall, on a continuing basis, undertake and maintain programs to inform all persons required to report abuse or neglect and the public of the nature, problem, and extent of abuse and neglect; of the remedial and therapeutic services available to children and their families; and to encourage self-reporting and the voluntary acceptance of such services. In addition, those mandated to report shall be informed by the division of their duties, options, and responsibilities in accordance with this act.

The division shall conduct ongoing training programs in relation to §§ 210.110 to 210.165 for agency staff.

The division shall continuously publicize to mandated reporters of abuse or neglect and to the public the existence and the number of the 24-hour, statewide toll-free telephone service to receive reports of abuse or neglect.

The division provides further information on the reporting process in its publication, Guidelines for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect. Topics discussed include the following:

  • Persons mandated to report suspected child maltreatment 
  • Reporting requirements 
  • Legal definitions of child abuse and neglect
  • Reporting procedure
  • What happens after a report is made
  • Indicators of abuse and neglect

The publication includes a link to the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Mandated Reporter Training. The training can be completed at the participant's own pace and consists of the following four lessons: 

  • Lesson 1: Introduction and legal requirements of mandated reporters
  • Lesson 2: Indicators of child abuse and neglect
  • Lesson 3: Plan for responding to suspicion, discovery, or disclosure of child abuse and neglect
  • Lesson 4: Effectively reporting child abuse and neglect

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 210.115

Any other person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect may report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 210.115

If two or more members of a medical institution who are required to report jointly have knowledge of a known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect, a single report may be made by a designated member of that medical team. Any member who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter immediately make the report. Nothing in this section, however, is meant to preclude any person from reporting abuse or neglect.

The reporting requirements under this section are individual, and no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit any reporting under this section. No person making a report shall be subject to any sanction, including any adverse employment action, for making such report. Every employer shall ensure that any employee required to report has immediate and unrestricted access to the communications technology necessary to make an immediate report and is temporarily relieved of other work duties for such time as is required to make any report required by this section. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 210.115; 573.215

A report is required under the following circumstances:

  • A reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect. 
  • A reporter observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect. 
  • A film and photographic print processor has knowledge of or observes any film, photograph, videotape, negative, slide, or computer-generated image or picture depicting a child younger than age 18 engaged in an act of sexual conduct.  

The fact that a child is an unaccompanied youth as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 11434a(6) is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for reporting child abuse or neglect unless the child is under age 16 or is an incapacitated person, as defined in § 475.010. Nothing in this subsection shall limit a mandated reporter from making a report if the mandated reporter knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that an unaccompanied youth has been or may be a victim of abuse or neglect.

Privileged Communications
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 210.140

Any legally recognized privileged communication, except that between attorney and client or involving communications made to a minister or clergyperson, shall not apply to situations involving known or suspected child abuse or neglect and shall not constitute grounds for failure to report, to cooperate with the division in any of its activities, or to give or accept evidence in any judicial proceeding relating to child abuse or neglect.

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 210.130

The report must include the name, address, occupation, and contact information for the person making the report. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 210.150

The names or other identifying information of reporters shall not be furnished to any child, parent, guardian, or alleged perpetrator named in the report.