With summer on the horizon and many nonprofit organizations gearing up for youth-centered activities, nonprofits that serve children need to help their paid staff and volunteers understand applicable mandatory reporting requirements. While there has been a general downward trend over the last 20 years, sadly the problems of child abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse remain pervasive. In 2013, there were 3.1 million reported incidents, an estimated 679,000 victims, and 1,520 child victims died. Both state and federal governments have enacted statutes that require certain individuals to report suspected incidents of child abuse and neglect. The reporting obligations are thus critical for protecting children.
By way of historical background, the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1974 grants the U.S. government broad powers to “protect the interests of children and intervene when parents fail to provide proper care.” CAPTA provides funding to the states to help prevent and treat victims of child abuse and neglect. The grants are contingent upon the state implementing laws and programs that mandate certain individuals to report incidents related to child abuse and neglect.
The federal funding incentive worked; all fifty states have implemented mandatory reporting statutes. The Illinois legislature enacted the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) forty years ago. Since then, the Act has been amended several times and now lists over forty professions required to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. In May of 2015, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services revised its Manual for Mandated Reporters, available here. The manual lists who must report, when they must report, and how to make a report.