Child Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect: Identification and Reporting
New York State Mandatory Training

Who Are the Mandated Reporters?

Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect Have Many Presentations

The Disturbing Statistics

Legal Definitions Related to Child Maltreatment

Recognizing Child Abuse

Case Studies: Identifying Abuse

Risk Factors Contributing to Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Protective Factors for Child Abuse and Maltreatment

The Consequences of Child Abuse

Perpetrators of Child Abuse

Talking with Children

Reporting Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Resonable Cuase/When to Report

How to Report

What Happens Affter a Report is Made

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act




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Ken Hammond, USDA

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYS-OCFS) (NYS-OCFS, 2005), reporting on two separate studies, a National Incidence Study conducted during the 1980s, and a 1999 University of Rochester study, found that professionals only reported about half of all maltreatment incidents that they knew about. Some of the reasons for not reporting were:

  • Confusion or misunderstanding about reporting laws and procedures;
  • Lack of knowledge or awareness of warning signs/clues.
  • Lack of clarity about abuse/neglect as defined in State Law; and
  • Influence of professional beliefs, values and experiences.

Mandated reporters of child abuse are identified in New York State Social Service Law, Section 413 as:

  • Alcoholism counselor
  • Child care or foster care workers
  • Chiropractor
  • Christian Science practitioner
  • Coroner
  • Day care center worker
  • Dentist
  • Dental hygienist
  • District attorney or assistant district attorney
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Employee or volunteer in a residential care facility for children
  • Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons
  • Intern
  • Investigator employed in the Office of the District Attorney
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Licensed creative arts therapist
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist
  • Licensed mental health counselor
  • Licensed psychoanalyst
  • Medical examiner
  • Mental health professional
  • Optometrist
  • Osteopath
  • Peace officer
  • Physician
  • Podiatrist
  • Provider of family or group family day care
  • Police officer
  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Registered physician assistant
  • Resident
  • School official (As of July 3, 2007, this includes, but is not limited to: school teachers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, school administrators, or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or other administrative license or certification.)
  • Social services worker
  • Social Worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Surgeon

The above professionals are required to report when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused or maltreated/neglected.

Because the laws of the state change based on the needs of its residents, the New York State legislature may include additional professionals over time. Please contact the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions to check if your profession is included as a mandated reporter of child abuse, maltreatment/neglect.

Penalties for Failure to Report

Failure to report child abuse or maltreatment/neglect on the part of mandated reporters is addressed in New York State Social Service Law, Section 420:

  • Any person, official or institution required by law to report a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatmen/neglect who willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor;
  • Any person, official or institution required by this title to report a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatment/neglect who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be civilly liable for the damages proximately caused by such failure.

Protection from Retaliatory Personnel Action

Section 413 of the Social Services Law specifies that no medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency shall take any retaliatory personnel action against an employee who made a report of child abuse or maltreatment to the State Central Register (SCR). Furthermore, no school, school official, child care provider, foster care provider, or mental health facility provider shall impose any conditions, including prior approval or prior notification, upon a member of their staff mandated to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment.

Immunity From Liability

Mandated reporters are provided immunity from liability under New York State Social Service Law, Section 419:

Any person, official or institution participating in good faith in making of a report, the taking of photographs, or the removal or keeping of a child they suspect may be abused or maltreated/neglected, shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might result from such actions. For the purpose of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of any such person, official or institution required to report cases of child abuse or maltreatment/neglect shall be presumed, provided such person, official or institution was acting in the discharge of their duties and within the scope of their employment, and that such liability did not result from the willful misconduct or gross negligence of such person, official or institution


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