Everyone has a responsibility to look out for the safety, health and welfare of children in their communities. Under Kansas law, however, certain individuals have a legal obligation to report suspicions of child sexual abuse or neglect. These individuals are known as mandated reporters, and they can face penalties for failing to speak up if they suspect certain crimes against children. Find out if you are a mandated reporter under Kansas law, as well as what to do if you need to file a report.
What Is Mandated Reporting?
Mandated reporting is a legal obligation to report certain forms of abuse or neglect of children, including physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Kansas Statutes Annotated Section 38-2223 defines mandated reporting and lists the individuals who are classified as mandated reporters. This law helps to protect children by getting them out of abusive, dangerous or life-threatening situations by bringing these crimes to the attention of Kansas authorities.
Who Is Considered a Mandated Reporter in Kansas?
According to state law, the following individuals are considered mandatory reporters of crimes against children in Kansas:
- Licensed practitioners of the healing arts, including nurses
- Anyone engaged in a postgraduate training program for healing arts
- Dentists and optometrists
- Chief administrative officers of medical facilities
- Licensed psychologists and clinical psychotherapists
- Licensed social workers
- Licensed marriage and family therapists
- Licensed professional counselors
- Registered alcohol and drug abuse counselors
- Teachers, school administrators and other employees at an educational institution
- Licensed child care services professionals and their employees
- Emergency medical services personnel
- Law enforcement officers
- Juvenile intake and assessment workers
- Community corrections officers
- Certain case managers and mediators
If any of these people have reason to suspect child abuse or neglect, they must report the crime promptly through the correct channels.
How Do They Report Child Abuse or Neglect in Kansas?
Fulfilling one’s legal duties as a mandated reporter in Kansas requires reporting any suspected crimes against children to the proper authorities without delay. This report can be made orally but may be followed with a written report if requested. Mandated reporters should call the Kansas Department for Children and Families at (800) 922-5330 to file a report. Reports can also be filed by mandated reporters online through the Kansas Protection Report Center portal. The report should contain the following information, if known:
- The name and address of the child
- The names of the child’s parents or others responsible for the child’s care
- The location of the child, if not at his or her residence
- The child’s gender, race and age
- Reasons why the reporter suspects child abuse or neglect
- The nature and extent of the child’s harm or injuries
- Any other information that might be helpful to authorities
If the mandated reporter is concerned about the child’s immediate safety, he or she should call 911 right away. This will put the person in touch with the local sheriff’s office, where the police can travel to the child’s location and investigate an emergency case of child abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters can choose to stay updated about a report filed. Note that anyone who reports crimes against children in good faith is immune from civil liability under Kansas law.
Can a Mandated Reporter Get in Trouble for Not Reporting?
Yes. There are legal penalties if a mandated reporter fails to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. This is a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas, which can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. Note that if a mandated reporter chooses to remain anonymous, there will be no documentation available to support that person’s defense against a failure-to-report charge.
For further assistance reporting crimes against children or legal advice as the parent or guardian of a child who has been sexually abused in Kansas, contact DRZ Law for a free and confidential case evaluation.