By Maria Galvan, Senior Risk Manager
The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, or CANRA, (California Penal Code, Sections 11164-11174.3) requires employees who may have direct contact with or supervision of children (under the age of 18) in the course of their professional duties to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect. Child Abuse and/or Child Neglect can include any of the following:
- A physical injury inflicted on a child by another person other than by accidental means.
- The sexual abuse, assault, or exploitation of a child.
- The negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare. This is whether the harm or threatened harm is from acts or omissions on the part of the responsible person.
- The willful harming or endangerment of the person or health of a child, any cruel or inhumane corporal punishment or any injury resulting in a traumatic condition.
Failure to fully comply with CANRA reporting requirements subjects a mandated reporter to criminal and civil penalties.
Effective January 1, 2021, AB 1963 adds the following positions and training requirements to the current California Penal Code list of mandated reporters for businesses with five or more employees that employ minors:
(48) A human resource employee of a business subject to Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code that employs minors. For purposes of this section, a “human resource employee” is the employee or employees designated by the employer to accept any complaints of misconduct as required by Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 12940) of Part 2.8 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
(49) An adult person whose duties require direct contact with and supervision of minors in the performance of the minors’ duties in the workplace of a business subject to Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code is a mandated reporter of sexual abuse, as defined in Section 11165.1. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to modify or limit the person’s duty to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect when the person is acting in some other capacity that would otherwise make the person a mandated reporter.
Employers subject to paragraphs (48) and (49) of subdivision (a) shall provide their employees who are mandated reporters with training in the duties imposed by this article. This training shall include training in child abuse and neglect identification and training in child abuse and neglect reporting. The training requirement may be met by completing the general online training for mandated reporters offered by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services.
A complete list of positions defined as mandated reporters is provided in California Penal Code, Section 11165.7(a). As of December 2020, the list had not been updated to reflect the positions added under AB 1963. Along with the addition of these positions to the list, most agencies have other classifications meeting the definition of a mandated reporter, such as police and fire, code enforcement, childcare, parks and recreation, and senior center personnel. Thoroughly reviewing the list of positions and identifying your agency’s mandated reporters is advised. Employers must provide mandated reporters with a statement informing them of their obligations under the law (Penal Code §§ 11165.7, subdivision (c)(1); 11166.5, subdivision (a)).
Based on the face of the statute, the language may be perceived as ambiguous, and thus, interpretations may vary. As a best risk management practice, and to seek to ensure that employees understand their responsibilities under the law, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) recommends that all designated mandated reporters receive training in child abuse and neglect identification and reporting.
Free mandated reporter training for general, childcare, law enforcement, and volunteers is available through the Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training Project , funded by the California Department of Social Services and Office of Child Abuse Prevention. The California JPIA also offers instructor-led mandated reporter training.
The California JPIA is committed to assisting public agencies and employees in following the requirements and understanding responsibilities under the law. Mandated Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting and Mandated Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse and Neglect Reporting policy templates are available in the Resource Library. The policy templates are intended to identify employees who are required to report child, elder, or dependent adult abuse under the law, set forth the timeline and procedures for making reports, identify safeguards for reporting parties, identify penalties for failing to comply with reporting obligations, and establish additional obligations of the member and its employees and volunteers.
Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive risk management training and loss control services.