When to Report

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: June 21, 2003
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