Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Texas

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Fam. Code § 261.101

For purposes of the reporting laws, persons required to report include professionals who are licensed or certified by the State or who are employees of facilities licensed, certified, or operated by the State and who, in the normal course of official duties or duties for which licensure or certification is required, have direct contact with children. The term 'professionals' include the following: 

  • Teachers or daycare employees 
  • Nurses, doctors, or employees of a clinic or health-care facility that provides reproductive services
  • Juvenile probation officers or juvenile detention or correctional officers

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

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

For online training offered by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, see Guide for Reporting Abuse to CPS.

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Fam. Code § 261.101

Any person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as required by law. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Fam. Code §§ 261.101; 261.110

A professional may not delegate to or rely on another person to make the report.

An employer may not suspend or terminate the employment of, discriminate against, or take any other adverse employment action against a person who is a professional and who in good faith does any of the following:

  • Reports child abuse or neglect to the person's supervisor, an administrator of the facility where the person is employed, a State regulatory agency, or a law enforcement agency
  • Initiates or cooperates with an investigation or proceeding by a governmental entity relating to an allegation of child abuse or neglect

In this section, the term 'adverse employment action' means an action that affects an employee's compensation, promotion, transfer, work assignment, or performance evaluation, or any other employment action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a report of abuse or neglect.

A person whose employment is suspended or terminated or who is otherwise discriminated against in violation of this section may sue for injunctive relief, damages, or both. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Fam. Code § 261.101

A report is required when a person has reasonable cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person. 

In addition, a person or professional shall make a report if the person or professional has reasonable cause to believe that an adult was a victim of abuse or neglect as a child and the person or professional determines in good faith that disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of another child, an elderly person, or a person with a disability. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Fam. Code §§ 261.101; 261.202

The requirement to report applies without exception to an individual whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a member of the clergy, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health professional, an employee or member of a board that licenses or certifies a professional, and an employee of a clinic or health-care facility that provides reproductive services.

In a proceeding regarding the abuse or neglect of a child, evidence may not be excluded on the grounds of privileged communication except in the case of communication between an attorney and client. 

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: Fam. Code §§ 261.101; 261.201

Unless waived in writing by the person making the report, the identity of an individual making a report is confidential and may be disclosed only as follows:

  • As provided by § 261.201
  • To a law enforcement officer for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation of the report

A report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect and the identity of the person making the report are confidential. A court may order the disclosure of such confidential information if, after a hearing and an in camera review of the requested information, the court determines the disclosure is the following:

  • Essential to the administration of justice
  • Not likely to endanger the life or safety of a child who is the subject of the report, a person who made the report, or any other person who participates in an investigation of reported abuse or neglect or who provides care for the child

The Texas Youth Commission shall release a report of alleged or suspected abuse if the report relates to abuse or neglect involving a child committed to the commission. The commission shall edit any report disclosed under this section to protect the identity of the following: 

  • A child who is the subject of the report
  • The person who made the report 
  • Any other person whose life or safety may be endangered by the disclosure