If a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.
As soon as you suspect abuse or maltreatment, you must report your concerns by telephone to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR). The SCR is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to receive your call.
The timeliness of your call is vital to the timeliness of intervention by the local department of social services’ Child Protective Services (CPS) unit. You are not required to notify the parents or other persons legally responsible either before or after your call to the SCR. In fact, in some cases, alerting the parent may hinder the local CPS investigation and adversely affect its ability to assess the safety of the children. The telephone numbers to report abuse or maltreatment are:
Mandated Reporter (800) 635-1522
Public Hotline (800) 342-3720
You do not need proof of child abuse or maltreatment to make a report; you only need to think that it has happened or that a child is at risk of being abused or maltreated. Your call to the Child Abuse Hotline is confidential. This means that only certain persons may learn about the information you report. The family you reported will not be told you made the report unless you say it is okay for them to know.
Law Enforcement Referrals: If a call to the SCR provides information about an immediate threat to a child or a crime committed against a child, but the perpetrator is not a parent or other person legally responsible for the child, the SCR staff will make a Law Enforcement Referral (LER). The relevant information will be recorded and
transmitted to the New York State Police Information Network or to the New York City Special Victims Liaison Unit. This is not a CPS report, and local CPS will not be involved.
Mandated Reporter Responsibilities: New York State recognizes that certain professionals are specially equipped to perform the important role of mandated reporter of child abuse and maltreatment. The entire current list can be found in Article 6, Title 6, Section 413 of the New York Social Services Law, which can be accessed online through the New York State Legislature’s Website (http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi). Click on Laws of New York to access Social Services Law.
When Am I Mandated to Report?Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment when they are presented with a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment in a situation where a child, parent, or other person legally responsible for the child is before the mandated reporter when the mandated reporter is acting in his or her official or professional capacity.
Reasonable Cause to Suspect: Reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment means that, based on your rational observations, professional training and experience, you have a suspicion that the parent or other person legally responsible for a child is responsible for harming that child or placing that child in imminent danger of harm. Your suspicion can be as simple as distrusting an explanation for an injury.
IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY
If a mandated reporter makes a report with earnest concern for the welfare of a child, he or she is immune from any criminal or civil liability that might result. This is referred to as making a report in “good faith
PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO REPORT
Anyone who is mandated to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment—and fails to do so—could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and subject to criminal penalties. Further, mandated reporters can be sued in a civil court for monetary damages for any harm caused by the mandated reporter’s failure to make a report to the SCR.