Who must report child abuse?
California law requires that any person whose job involves working professionally with children and who knows or has reason to believe that a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused shall immediately report the suspected incident to the local law enforcement and/or child welfare services.
Mandated reporters include:
- Childcare custodians (school, daycare, etc.);
- Health practitioners (medical and non-medical);
- Employees of child protective agencies (police department and Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS));
- Commercial film and photographic print processors;
- Child visitation monitors;
- Peace Officers;
- Probation and parole officers;
- Custodial officers and defined by PC 831.5;
- Firefighters, animal control officers, humane society officers;
- Clergy (excluding confession or its equivalent)
The report must be made as soon as practical.
The CDSS Office of Child Abuse Prevention offers free online mandated reporter training for all social workers and individuals identified as mandated reporters. The link to this training is accessible at the child abuse mandated reporter website. The free training has seven modules, ranging from two to four hours in length. In addition to a general module for all mandated reporters, there are six profession-specific modules for clergy, school personnel, child care providers, law enforcement, mental health professionals/social workers, and medical professionals.