Mandatory Reporting Requirements in Minnesota
Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
Across the U.S., certain adult professionals may be classified as “mandated reporters” if they are required to report child abuse and neglect by law. From teachers to healthcare professionals, those who believe that a child is experiencing abuse and neglect may be obligated to verbally report it to law enforcement within 24 hours, as well as provide written notice to law enforcement or Child Protective Services within 72 hours.
Because failure to report is a crime in the state of Minnesota, it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities and take appropriate action after identifying child abuse. At Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., we have over a century of combined experience in both criminal defense representation and civil litigation – and we can help you better understand your role as a mandatory reporter. Whether you’re facing retaliation for reporting or criminal charges for a failure to report, our Minneapolis lawyers will serve as your committed advocates.
Who Is Considered a Mandatory Reporter?
As a general rule, anyone who works with children, cares for children, or offers professional services related to children will be classified as a mandatory reporter. If you become aware of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect of a child and it occurred within the last 3 years, you are obligated to file a report within the required periods. It is also illegal for your employer to take retaliatory action against you for fulfilling this important public duty, whether you work for an amateur athletic organization or an educational institution.
While this is not an exclusive list, all of the following professionals are considered mandatory reporters in Minnesota:
- Teachers (public and private)
- Doctors and nurses
- Administrators in an educational or non-profit setting
- Social workers
- Daycare providers
- Family members
- Psychologists and counselors
- Clergy members
- Probation and correctional officers
- Law enforcement officials
- Hospital and healthcare staff
- Welfare workers
How Do I Report Child Abuse?
Child abuse and neglect can be difficult to spot even with extensive training, as abused children do not always realize they are suffering from maltreatment. This is especially true if the perpetrator is a parent or trusted mentor, such as a clergy member or soccer coach. However, for the sake of the child’s safety, it’s imperative that you pay close attention to the signs and report suspected abuse to the right authorities.
Under Minnesota mandatory reporter laws, knowledge about any of the following can trigger your obligation to report:
- Child malnourishment and starvation
- Lack of appropriate child care or education
- Parent or guardian alcoholism and substance abuse
- Severe emotional abuse that has an observable effect on the child
- Physical injuries from kicking, throwing, striking, or poisoning a child
- Sexual abuse or molestation of any kind
- Prenatal exposure to excessive controlled substances
- Sex trafficking of a child
You can report these abuses to any of the following:
- Your local police department
- The sheriff’s office
- Child Protective Services (CPS)
- Your local welfare agency
What Are the Penalties for Failing to Report Abuse?
Although anyone can file a report about child abuse, mandatory reporters will face severe criminal charges if prosecutors can show that they knew about the abuse and chose not to report it. These penalties range depending on the status of the professional and the severity of the abuse, but in cases where the child dies, caretakers could be facing felony charges with a maximum of 2 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Failure to report can be classified as any of the following:
- Misdemeanor: For failing to report child abuse and neglect within the previous 3 years.
- Gross misdemeanor: For failing to report child abuse and neglect of two or more children by the same perpetrator within the previous 10 years.
- Felony: For parents and official caretakers who fail to report child abuse and neglect, when the child dies due to lack of medical care or treatment.
Do you have questions related to your role as a mandatory reporter or charges incurred by a failure to report? Contact our Minneapolis attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation.
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