Mandated reporting laws require certain professionals to report child abuse and neglect concerns. While some States require all people to report, many States identify specific professionals as mandated reporters. These often include the following:<

  • Social workers
  • Health-care professionals
  • Teachers
  • Child care providers
  • Law enforcement

To help families in need of concrete support such as food, shelter, child care, transportation, or medical care, many States have started to offer helplines. These helplines allow community members to reach out to find support for families rather than only reporting child abuse and neglect.

The current mandated reporting system has led to the over-surveillance of families experiencing poverty and families of color. This has contributed to distrust in the child welfare system and may add to families’ reluctance to reach out for help when facing a lack of resources or difficulties (e.g., unemployment, housing instability) that are risk factors for child abuse and neglect. 

To promote racial equity and increase awareness of alternative ways to support children and families, people are encouraged to become “mandated supporters.” This entails connecting families to helplines or resources that support their basic needs.

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