Reporting Child Abuse - California
Under California law, certain individuals (including teachers and school officials, day care or child care employees, employees of day camps or youth organizations or recreation programs or centers, directors, coaches, assistant coaches or athletic personnel at public or private sports organizations, public assistance workers, district attorneys, case workers, doctors or medical professionals or health care workers, counselors and therapists (including candidates), coroners, commercial film developers, animal control officers, clergy, law enforcement officers or employees of a police department, alcohol and drug counselors, among others) are required to report suspected child abuse to any police department, sheriff’s department, county probation department, or the county welfare department, but not including school district police or security. These agencies will also accept reports from persons not named above as mandatory reporters. School districts that do not train their employees in the duties of mandated reporters under the child abuse reporting laws will have to report to the State Department of Education the reasons why this training is not provided.
On or after 1/1/2018, a Child Care Licensee applicant shall take training in the duties of mandated reporters as a condition of licensure. A Child Care Administrator or employee of a licensed Child Day Care Facility shall take Mandated Reporters training within the first 90 days when employed by the Facility. A Licensee, Administrator or employee of a Licensed Child Day Care Facility shall take renewal Mandated Reporter training every two years. The absence of training shall not excuse a Mandated Reporter from the duties imposed.
A County Probation or Welfare Department shall immediately report a child victim of commercial sexual exploitation. If a child victim of commercial sexual exploitation is missing, the County Probation or Welfare Department shall immediately report the incident to the appropriate Law Enforcement Authority for entry into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information database for Missing and Exploited Children.
The statutes define child abuse or neglect as physical injury or death inflicted upon a child through non-accidental means, the willful harming or endangering of a child, or unlawful corporal punishment.
The statutes also define neglect, sexual abuse, and willful endangerment of a child.
Links to the specific sections of the official California Penal Code are not available. The mandatory reporting statute is found in Part 4 (PREVENTION OF CRIMES AND APPREHENSION OF CRIMINALS), Title 1 (INVESTIGATION AND CONTROL OF CRIMES AND CRIMINALS), Chapter 2 (Control of Crimes and Criminals), Article 2.5 (Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act), Sections 11164 through 11174.3. To access the entire California Penal Code, follow:
Links to the specific sections summarized above, including definitions, in an unofficial version of the Code online, are available as follows:
Below is a link to a list of California county welfare offices and their contact information:
Below are a link to and a web address for a PDF of the child abuse reporting hotlines for all counties:
Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotlines:
Below is a link provided by the Department of Social Services regarding reporting child abuse: