Mandated reporting is the early recognition of child maltreatment with the goal of preventing further abuse from occurring. Many mandated reporters have professional relationships with children that make it possible for children to disclose abuse or for the mandated reporter to identify maltreatment.
Anyone working with children under 18 years of age who have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect should report it. However, certain professions are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect in Georgia [OCGA 19-7-5(c)(1)]. The majority of child abuse and neglect reports are made by mandated reporters, making them a first line of defense. The purpose of this law is to protect and prevent further abuse and their adverse effects as well as bring protective services into the home with the hopes of improving the child’s welfare and preserve the family when possible.
Georgia law generally requires those who work with families or who come in contact with children to report suspected child maltreatment. According to Georgia law, the following persons must report abuse:
- Physicians, interns or residents;
- Hospital or medical personnel;
- Licensed psychologists and interns;
- RPNs and LPNs;
- Professional counselors, social workers, or marriage and family therapists;
- School teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, visiting teachers, social workers, or psychologists;
- Child welfare agency personnel;
- Child-counseling personnel;
- Child service organization personnel (includes volunteers);
- Law enforcement personnel;
- Reproductive health care facility or pregnancy resource center personnel and volunteers