Healthcare providers in every State are mandated to report child abuse and neglect. In Massachusetts the mandated reporting law is as follows (for reporting laws of other States, click here):

Massachusetts Mandated Reporting Law - Who Must Report:

Physicians; medical interns; hospital personnel engaged in the examination, care, or treatment of persons; medical examiners; emergency medical technicians; dentists; nurses; chiropractors; podiatrists; optometrists; osteopaths; psychiatrists;

Teachers; educational administrators; day-care workers of persons paid to care for or work with children in facilities, or homes or programs funded or licensed by the State which provide day-care or residential services to children or which provide the services of child care resource and referral agencies, voucher management agencies, family day-care systems and child care food programs; school attendance officers;

Psychologists; social workers; licensed allied mental health and human services professionals; drug and alcoholism counselors; clinical social workers; guidance or family counselors;*

Probation officers; clerk/magistrates of district courts; parole officers; foster parents; firefighters or police officers; office for children licensers.

*Any privilege established by statutes regarding social worker and client or psychotherapist and patient confidential communications shall not prohibit the filing of a report pursuant to the provisions of the reporting laws.


When, in their professional capacities, they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under age 18 is:

Suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him or her which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare, including sexual abuse;
Suffering from neglect, including malnutrition; or
Determined to be physically dependent upon an addictive drug at birth.(1)


(1) National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. (December 31, 2000). Child Abuse and Neglect State Statutes Elements: Reporting Laws Number 2. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last Updated: April 23, 2003
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