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Reporting Child Abuse - Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS

Under Massachusetts law, certain individuals in their professional capacities (including doctors and other health care professionals and employees, drug and alcohol counselors, mental health professionals, teachers and school administrators, child care or day care employees, probation officers, social workers, clergy, foster parents, firefighters and law enforcement officers) are required to report known or suspected child abuse by telephone or in person to the Department of Children and Families within forty-eight (48) hours, and are thereafter required to file a written report with the Department of Children and Families. A mandated reporter may additionally file a report with local law enforcement or a child advocate about the abuse. Hospitals are required to inform local district attorneys, law enforcement agencies and the department with physical evidence of abuse. Any other person not specified by this statute may report known or suspected abuse of a child to the department of children and families.

Child abuse is defined to include physical injury, emotional injury, neglect or sexual abuse.

To access the entire chapter of the relevant official Massachusetts Code online, follow:

http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVII/Chapter119

Links to the specific sections summarized above, including definitions, in an unofficial version of the Code online, are available as follows:

http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVII/Chapter119/Section51A
http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVII/Chapter119/Section21

To access more information on reporting of abuse, warning signs, and information for mandatory reporters, definitions and an overview of all relevant issues, see the Department of Health and Human Services website:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/child-abuse-neglect/http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/child-abuse-neglect/warning-signs.html
http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/child-abuse-neglect/reporting-abuse.html

Child-at-Risk Hotline:
1-800-792-5200


[1] Please note any unofficial sources may not reflect the most current changes in Massachusetts law and should not be relied upon.