Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Rhode Island

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Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 40-11-3; 40-11-6

Any person, including a physician, duly certified registered nurse practitioner, or other health-care provider is required to report. 

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

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

A brief overview of reporting requirements can be found on the website of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The topics covered include the following:

  • What is child abuse?
  • What can be investigated?
  • Who is required to report?
  • How is a report made?
  • What information must be included in a report?

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-3(a)

Any person who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected must report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-3.3

If the person mandated to report an incident of suspected child sexual abuse is an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program, they shall immediately notify the principal, headmaster, executive director, or other person in charge of the educational program, or their designated agent. The principal, headmaster, executive director, or other person in charge of the educational program shall be responsible for all subsequent notification to DCYF. In the case of a public educational program, the principal, headmaster, executive director shall also notify the superintendent of the public educational program. Nothing in this section is intended to require more than one report from any educational program for a specific incident.

DCYF shall immediately forward the report to the State police and local law enforcement and shall initiate an investigation of the allegations of sexual abuse if it determines that the report meets the criteria for a child protective services investigation. As a result of those reports and referrals, DCYF shall refer those children to appropriate services and support systems to provide for their health and welfare.

In the event DCYF substantiates the allegations of sexual abuse against an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program, DCYF shall immediately notify the State police, the local law enforcement agency, the Department of Education, the educational program, the person who is the subject of the investigation, and the parent or parents of the child who is alleged to be the victim of the sexual abuse of DCYF's findings.

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 40-11-3(a); 40-11-3.3; 40-11-6

A report is required when the following apply:

  • A person has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or has been a victim of sexual abuse by another child.
  • A person has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been the victim of sexual abuse by an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program. 
  • A physician, nurse practitioner, or other health-care provider must report when any of the following apply:
    • They are involved in the delivery or care of infants born with, or identified as being affected by, substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure or a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
    • They have cause to suspect that a child brought to them for treatment is an abused or neglected child.
    • They determine that a child younger than age 12 is suffering from any sexually transmitted disease. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-11

The privileged quality of communication between spouses and any professional person and their patient or client, except that between and attorney and their client, shall not constitute grounds for failure to report. 

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report
Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-3.3


Any report of suspected child sexual abuse by an employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of an educational program that is transmitted to the department shall include the name, title, and contact information for every employee, agent, contractor, or volunteer of the educational program who is believed to have direct knowledge of the allegation. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.