Who are mandated reporters and what are they required to do?
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigates and prosecutes child abuse and neglect matters in Connecticut. The agency has investigators who are social workers (they now use the term "intake" instead of investigation to describe their unit but the investigators are stil called investigative social workers - ISW's). ISW's do not patrol the streets or go door to door looking for people to investigate. They receive their leads from calls to the Careline--anyone can make an anonymous call to DCF--and, more often, mandated reporters.
Mandated reporters are individuals, who by their profession or activity, fall within a legal responsibility established by statute to report suspected abuse and neglect to DCF. All states have mandatory reporting requirements. Connecticut's statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 17a-101, identifies 38 specific mandated reporter categories. The best known are teachers and other school employees, healthcare professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, therapists), police officers, clergy, coaches and DCF employees, but there are others. If you are a mandated reporter, you probably have been informed and received training, but if you haven't, you should check to be safe.
A mandated reporter faces criminal consequences, either an A misdemeanor or an E felony, if he or she fails to make a required report. Additionally, there could also be DCF consequences for failure to report.
We at DeMatteo Legal Solutions focus our practice primarily on criminal defense and DCF matters. If you find yourself involved in a DCF or police investigation, contact our office to discuss your case.