On January 1, 2021, new California legislation requires that human resources employees and some supervisors become mandated reporters if their company has more than 5 employees and hires teens. This will create hundreds of thousands of new reporters throughout the state, many of whom may never have been required to report before.
This new legislation will help keep the teens who are employed at these organizations safe from abuse and neglect. However, it may also cause concern for the employees and employers who now have to navigate the realm of mandated reporting. Learn what HR employees and supervisors in California need to know as they become mandated reporters.
What HR Employees & Supervisors in California Need to Know About Reporting Child Abuse
What happens if I don't report?
The consequences of a mandated reporter failing to report suspected abuse or neglect are serious. In California, failure to report is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.
Performing your duty as a mandated reporter not only helps you avoid these serious consequences, it could also potentially save the life of the child in question.
How do I recognize abuse or neglect?
AB 1963 creates a new class of reporters, HR employees and supervisors, who may not have previous experience in recognizing and reporting child abuse or neglect. Getting the appropriate training to learn to recognize the signs of maltreatment is especially important for these new reporters.
Signs of the different types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse, such as bruises or fractures
- Neglect, such as failure to provide food, shelter, or medical care
- Sexual abuse, which can include rape, molestation, and prostitution
- Emotional abuse, which impacts a child’s emotional development and sense of self-worth
This is a very brief look at the types of abuse and neglect mandated reporters need to be able to recognize. The full mandated reporter training will give you a more complete understanding of your duties. If you're a new reporter under AB 1963, your employer is required to provide you with information, and either their own training or the version from the California Department of Social Services.
Who do I report to?
Per the California Department of Social Services, mandated reporters in the state are required to report suspected or known instances of child abuse and neglect to their county child welfare office or local law enforcement.
After this initial report, a written report must be faxed or sent by electronic submission within 36 hours.
Where do I find more information?
Mandated reporting is a serious duty, and it's vital to understand how to recognize child abuse and how to report it. The best source of information to understand your duties is your employer-provided training course.
For example, much of the information currently available to mandated reporters is geared towards those working with very young children. However, the HR employees and supervisors under AB 1963 will be dealing with older teenagers. Because of this, it's important to take the appropriate training to ensure you're utilizing information designed for the correct age group and scenario.
The appropriate mandated reporter training can walk you through what you need to know about identifying and reporting abuse. The best way to ensure you're able to perform your duty confidently is to take the training provided by your employer or the California Department of Social Services.