Your role as a mandatory reporter in Colorado
October 23, 2019
When it comes to ensuring Colorado’s kids are safe, mandatory reporters are an important piece in the puzzle. A mandatory reporter may see some things that others miss and are trusted to take action, no matter what. As a mandatory reporter, you are part of the safety net that protects children or teens and strengthens families. Mandatory reporters have the ability to connect children and families with the resources they need to thrive.
Are you a mandatory reporter in Colorado?
A mandatory reporter is defined as a professional who is obligated by law to report known or suspected incidents of child abuse and/or neglect. There are more than 40 categories of professions that are considered to be mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect in Colorado. If you interact with children and families at work, there is a good chance that you are a mandatory reporter. Review this list of professions to find out whether or not you are a mandatory reporter of child abuse and neglect in Colorado.
Reporting child abuse in Colorado
Why: As a mandatory reporter, it is your legal responsibility to immediately make an oral report of any suspected child abuse and/or neglect to child protective services.
How: To properly report child abuse, child trafficking or neglect in Colorado, you can do one of three things, the easiest of which is to call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1‑844‑264‑5437). You may also call the local county human services department or 911 if you are witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation.
When you make the call yourself, you can be confident that you've fulfilled your duty as a mandatory reporter. If you simply share your concern with someone else and expect them to make the call a.k.a "cause a report to be made", there is a chance that that person may not report the concern. A good practice is to either make the call yourself or be present when someone else calls for you.
Every time you make a report of child abuse and neglect, you should request - and write down - a hotline ID number. As a mandatory reporter with a legal requirement to report concerns about child abuse or neglect, you can use the hotline ID as documentation for the call.
What happens after I call?: County human services employees work directly with families to strengthen a family’s ability to protect and care for their children; minimizing harm to youth, and ensuring timely permanency planning. Interested in learning more? Watch the video below:
Are there consequences if I don't report my concerns?: Yes, there are legal consequences for not reporting known instances or suspicions of child abuse and/or neglect. You could be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor, receive a fine of $750 and/or imprisonment up to six months, and be liable for what the law terms “damages approximately caused” if you fail to report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
Am I liable if my concerns are not confirmed?: If you have reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect, it is better to be safe than sorry – make the call.
Can I remain anonymous?: Yes. Child protective services and its employees are required by law not to disclose the name of the mandatory reporter to the family. However, this confidentiality does not apply to reports made to law enforcement.
Interested in learning more about child abuse and neglect and your responsibility as a mandatory reporter? Take the online training today.