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Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting-Connecticut

The public policy of the State of Connecticut is to protect children whose health and welfare may be at peril due to child abuse or neglect.  The State also aims to strengthen families and make homes safe for children by enhancing the parental capacity for good child care; and providing a temporary or permanent nurturing and safe environment for children when necessary.  In order to achieve these purposes, the State requires reporting of suspected child abuse, and investigation of such reports by a social agency.  Additionally, the State also provides services to victims of child abuse or neglect, if required.[i]

State law identifies a certain group of people as mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect.  However, individuals who do not belong to this group also have a duty to report child abuse or neglect.

According to Connecticut law, any mandated reporter who in the ordinary course of such person’s employment or profession reasonably suspects or believes that a child under the age of 18 has been abused or neglected as defined in section 46b-120; or sustained non-accidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of such injury, inflicted upon such child; or is placed at imminent risk of serious harm shall report or cause to report such incidents to the Commissioner of Children and Families. [ii] According to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101, the following persons shall be mandated reporters: [iii]

  • any physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 370;
  • any resident physician or intern in any hospital in the State of Connecticut, whether or not so licensed;
  • any registered nurse or licensed practical nurse
  • medical examiner
  • dentist or dental hygienist
  • psychologist
  • coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics, school teacher, school principal, school guidance counselor, school paraprofessional, or school coach
  • social worker
  • police officer
  • juvenile or adult probation officer
  • juvenile or adult parole officer
  • member of the clergy
  • pharmacist
  • physical therapist
  • optometrist
  • chiropractor
  • podiatrist
  • mental health professional or physician assistant
  • any person who is a licensed or certified emergency medical services provider
  • any person who is a licensed or certified alcohol and drug counselor
  • any person who is a licensed marital and family therapist
  • any person who is a sexual assault counselor or a battered women’s counselor as defined in section 52-146k (dealing with privileged communications between battered women’s or sexual assault counselor and victim.)
  • any person who is a licensed professional counselor
  • any person paid to care for a child in any public or private facility, child day care center, group day care home or family day care home licensed by the state
  • any employee of the Department of Children and Families
  • any employee of the Department of Public Health who is responsible for the licensing of child day care centers, group day care homes, family day care homes or youth camps
  • Child Advocate and any employee of the Office of Child Advocate.

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall develop an educational training program to facilitate identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. The program shall be made available to all mandated reporters. [iv]

Any mandated reporter who fails to report to the Commissioner of Children and Families any incidents of child abuse or neglect shall be asked to participate in an educational and training program established by the commissioner.  Any private organization approved by the Commissioner shall provide such training program.  The entire costs of the training program shall be paid from fees charged to the participants, the amount of which shall be subject to the approval of the Commissioner. [v]

Any person who fails to report as required by the governing laws shall be fined.  The fine may be between 500 dollars and 2500 dollars.  He/She may also be required to participate in an educational and training program. [vi]

Any person, institution, or agency that in good faith makes, or in good faith does not make, a report shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.  The same immunity shall apply with respect to any judicial proceeding that results from such report provided such person was not responsible or cause such abuse or neglect.[vii] Any person who knowingly makes a false report of child abuse or neglect shall be fined not more than 2000 dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both. [viii]

[i] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101(a)

[ii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101a

[iii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101(b)

[iv] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101(c)

[v] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101(d)

[vi] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101a

[vii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101e(b)

[viii] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101e(c)

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