Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Montana

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 41-3-201; 15-6-201(2)(b)

Professionals required to report include the following:

  • Physicians, residents, interns, members of hospital staffs, nurses, osteopaths, chiropractors, podiatrists, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, optometrists, or any other health professionals
  • Teachers, school officials, or school employees who work during regular school hours  
  • Operators or employees of any registered or licensed daycare or substitute care facility, or operators or employees of child care facilities
  • Mental health professionals or social workers 
  • Religious healers 
  • Foster care, residential, or institutional workers 
  • Members of the clergy, as defined in § 15-6-201(2)(b)
  • Guardians ad litem or court-appointed advocates authorized to investigate a report
  • Peace officers or other law enforcement officials
  • Child protection specialists
  • Guardians ad litem or court-appointed advocates who are authorized to investigate a report of alleged abuse or neglect
  • Employees of entities that contract with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to provide direct services to children
  • Employees of the department while conducting their duties

The term 'clergy' includes any of the following:

  • An ordained minister, priest, or rabbi
  • A commissioned or licensed minister of a church or church denomination that ordains ministers if the person has the authority to perform substantially all the religious duties of the church or denomination
  • A member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty
  • A Christian Science practitioner

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

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

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-201

Any other person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected may report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report

This issue is not addressed in the laws and policies reviewed. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-201

A report is required when either of the following apply:

  • A reporter knows or has reasonable cause to suspect, as a result of information received in their professional or official capacity, that a child is abused or neglected. 
  • A health-care professional involved in the delivery or care of an infant knows that the infant is affected by a dangerous drug. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-201

A person listed as a mandated reporter may not refuse to make a report as required in this section on the grounds of a physician-patient or similar privilege. 

A member of the clergy or a priest is not required to make a report under this section if the communication is required to be confidential by canon law, church doctrine, or established church practice. 

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report
Citation: 2023 Mt. ALS 382, § 1

A department employee receiving a report of abuse or neglect shall request the specific facts giving rise to the reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect and the source or sources of the information and either of the following:

  • If the person making the report is a mandatory reporter, the person’s name and telephone number and the capacity that makes the person a mandatory reporter 
  • If the person making the report is not a mandatory reporter, the person’s name and telephone number
  • If the person who is not a mandatory reporter is unwilling to provide the information, the person receiving the report shall inform the caller that if the caller suspects the child is at serious risk of imminent harm, to call 9-1-1 so the call will be prioritized as an emergency.

A department employee receiving a report shall do the following:

  • To the greatest extent possible, attempt to obtain the name and phone number of the person making the report and document any other identifying information available, including, but not limited to, the caller’s phone number when identified by the phone system
  • If the report is being made by phone, inform the caller that the report is being recorded and the person's identity will be kept confidential

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-205

Records may be disclosed to the following persons:

  • A parent, grandparent, sibling, parent's sibling, guardian, mandatory reporter, or person designated by the child's parent or guardian who is the subject of a report in the records or other person responsible for the child’s welfare, without disclosure of the identity of any person who reported or provided information on the alleged child abuse or neglect
  • A person about whom a report has been made and that person's attorney with respect to the relevant records pertaining to that person only and without disclosing the identity of the reporter or any other person whose safety may be endangered