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Webinar Description

The United States has historically relied heavily on mandated reporting, believing it is a causal factor in child abuse prevention. However, to date, there has not been any published research suggestive of such causation. In fact, our reliance on mandated reporting as the primary response to help families arguably introduces more opportunity for systemic racism, implicit biases, and the unwarranted removal of children from their homes.


This presentation reviews the legal and social history of mandated reporting laws and family separation, examines the ethical conundrum of mandated reporting as it relates to evidence-based practice, and discusses alternatives to mandated reporting as a primary prevention strategy.


The presentation includes an examination of “reasonable belief” or “suspicion” requirement in mandated reporting laws and guidance on how to respond to a child disclosure of maltreatment, and what to do when a professional observes maltreatment “warning signs”. We will also focus on alternative responses, highlighting how and when to implement them without violating mandated reporting laws. Overall, this presentation challenges participants to think of consequence beyond just the reporting call, and to be creative in implementing family support systems.


This presentation recognizes and acknowledges that there are many cases where reporting is important and required to ensure child safety. We will discuss, briefly, ways to distinguish cases of maltreatment from cases of poverty and other non-maltreatment stressors where alternative responses may be appropriate.


This class meets the DC Key Public Health Priorities criteria for DC licensees.

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