By law in Connecticut, people in certain professions and occupations that have contact with children or whose primary focus is children must report suspected child abuse or neglect (CGS § 17a-101). These are called mandated reporters and they must make the report when, in the ordinary course of their employment or profession, they have reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child under age 18 has been abused, neglected, or placed in imminent risk of serious harm (CGS § 17a101b). A mandated reporter whose failure to report is intentional, willful, or
reckless may be subject to criminal penalties and fines of up to $2,000.
A mandated reporter is a professional who, through the course of their regularly assigned duties and professional tasks associates and has contact with children, suspects that a child is suffering abuse or neglect. Under current law, any individual paid to take care of children at a facility licensed by the State of Connecticut such as a childcare center is a mandated reporter. Additionally, if while performing their professional duties healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, dentists, mental health professionals, sports coaches, teachers, school officials, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, members of clergy, and psychologists suspect child abuse is occurring, they are required to report it. Connecticut General Statute Sec. 17a-101 has a comprehensive list of who a mandated reporter is.
When reporting a suspected case of child abuse, a mandated reporter should be prepared to provide the name and place of residence of the child and parent or the guardian responsible for the care of the child; the gender and age of the child; the type of neglect, abuse or injury; when the abuse or neglect may have occurred; what steps were taken by the mandated reporter to treat the injury and prevent further harm to the child; and any other information the person may have on the history of abuse against the child and who may be committing it. Indicators of child abuse include but are not limited to signs of maltreatment, lack of care, deprivation of necessities, malnutrition, signs or indication of sexual molestation and physical abuse.
Generally, when a mandated reporter suspects child abuse and reports it in good faith, they are not liable civilly or criminally. If, however, they fail to report child abuse, then they could face a fine.