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Mandatory Reporting of the Maltreatment of Minors

With little fanfare, in 2020, the Minnesota legislature repealed the entire chapter related to the mandatory reporting of the maltreatment of minors and codified it in Chapter 260E. As a result, now is a good time to refamiliarize yourself with the new law and how it relates to your position. If you are a mandated reporter – meaning you have no choice but to report as required under the statute – and you fail to report you may be subjected to criminal prosecution.

Currently, mandated reporters are professionals or the professional’s delegate “who is engaged in the practice of the healing arts, social services, hospital administration, psychological or psychiatric treatment, child care, education, correctional supervision, probate and correctional services, or law enforcement.” The definition also includes clergy under certain circumstances, but that is not the focus of this article.

The first question is whether as a professional/delegate you are defined as a mandatory reporter requiring an obligatory report. For certain professions, the analysis is minimal. However, for other professions, the analysis requires a careful review of the law. The “practice of social services” is the only practice area that has a definition in the statute. That definition includes but is not limited to employee assistance counseling and guardian ad litem and parenting time expeditor services. Therefore, if you are a parenting time expeditor, you are a mandatory reporter under the statute.

If the answer to the first question is yes, then the second question is whether you have personal knowledge or reason to believe that a child is being maltreated as defined under the statute, or has been maltreated within the preceding three years. Maltreatment is specifically defined under the statute. The definition of maltreatment is somewhat technical but the main categories of maltreatment are as follows: egregious harm, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, substantial child endangerment, threatened injury, mental injury and maltreat of a child in a facility. Therefore, to determine whether or not maltreatment has occurred you need to carefully analysis the definitions for each maltreatment category.

If the answer to the second questions is yes, then you have to report it. There are strict time requirements to report. You have to make an oral report immediately. Within 72 hours of making the oral report, exclusive of weekend and holidays, you must submit a written report in writing to the appropriate police department, the county sheriff, the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or the local welfare agency. In addition, if you are a board or an entity that have individuals who are licensed to work in a school facility, an additional report must also be made to the commissioner of education.

Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP assists businesses with understanding mandatory reporting of the maltreatment of children.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.