Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - West Virginia

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-803 

The following professionals are required to report:

  • Medical, dental, or mental health professionals
  • Christian Science practitioners or religious healers 
  • Teachers or other school personnel
  • Social service, child care, or foster care workers
  • Emergency medical services personnel
  • Peace officers, law enforcement officials, or humane officers
  • Members of the clergy
  • Circuit court judges, family court judges, employees of the Division of Juvenile Services, or magistrates
  • Youth camp administrators, counselors, employees, coaches, or volunteers of entities that provide organized activities for children
  • Commercial film or photographic print processors

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-805

The Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Social Services shall conduct educational and training programs for persons required to report suspected abuse or neglect and the general public as well as implement evidence-based programs that reduce incidents of child maltreatment, including sexual abuse. Training for persons require to report and the general public shall include the following:

  • Indicators of child abuse and neglect
  • Tactics used by sexual abusers
  • How and when to make a report
  • Protective factors that prevent abuse and neglect in order to promote adult responsibility for protecting children; encourage maximum reporting of child abuse and neglect; and to improve communication, cooperation, and coordination among all agencies involved in the identification, prevention, and treatment of the abuse and neglect of children

For more information, see Mandated Reporter Training.

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-803 

Nothing in this article is intended to prevent individuals from reporting suspected abuse or neglect on their own behalf. In addition to those persons and officials specifically required to report situations involving suspected abuse or neglect of children, any other person may make a report if that person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected in a home or institution or observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-803 

Any person required to report who is a member of the staff or volunteer of a public or private institution, school, entity that provides organized activities for children, facility, or agency also shall immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school, entity that provides organized activities for children, facility, or agency, or a designated agent thereof, who may supplement the report or cause an additional report to be made. Notifying a person in charge, supervisor, or superior does not exempt a person from their mandate to report suspected abuse or neglect.

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-803 

Any mandatory reporter who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is neglected or abused or observes the child being subjected to conditions that are likely to result in abuse or neglect, including sexual abuse or sexual assault, shall report the circumstances to the department. In any case where the reporter believes that the child suffered serious physical abuse or sexual abuse or sexual assault, the reporter shall also immediately report, or cause a report to be made, to the State police and any law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Ann. Code § 49-2-811 

The privileged quality of communications between spouses and between any professional person and their patient or client, except that between attorney and client, cannot be invoked in situations involving suspected or known child abuse or neglect. 

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: Ann. Code § 49-5-101

Information related to child abuse or neglect proceedings, except information relating to the identity of the person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect, shall be made available, upon request, to the agencies and entities listed in the statute.