Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Who Is Responsible?

By Brown, Rashida | Policy & Practice, February 2012 | Go to article overview

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Who Is Responsible?

Brown, Rashida, Policy & Practice

The child abuse allegations on the campus of Pennsylvania State University that hit national news in November shook the public tremendously. It raised the eyebrows of concerned citizens wondering who's most at fault and what can be done to make sure this situation never happens again. Individuals eager to point the finger at those involved have had to stop and think about what new policies should be in place to ensure better protection for all children, not just those who become victims of sexual abuse by prominent and well-known individuals of high stature. In looking at the events of the Penn State scandal from a more comprehensive lens and the reactions of many Americans, it was clear that the general public has had to ponder how they would have handled the situation if they were witnesses of the abuse. They've had to ask themselves who they would have called to report the crime - would it be law enforcement, university officials, or child protection services? Some have said that law enforcement should have done a better job at intervening. Others have said that institutions of higher learning should have clearer standards in place for professionals working with children or young adults. The rest have asked what position child welfare took in the matter.

Nonetheless, it raised the need to have more public awareness in the broader community for adults to be more informed on how to identify suspected abuse and neglect of children and how best to respond. Skeptics have questioned whether Congress can fix the problem through legislation and if enforcing more rigid standards on states would eliminate acts of abuse altogether.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires that all states have laws on child abuse and neglect and policies and procedures in place for mandated reporters. After similar allegations on other campuses surfaced and in response to the media uproar, some state legislatures have amended state laws on mandated reporters to clarify "school professionals" by including "professionals working in institutions of higher learning" in their definition. Eighteen states, including Pennsylvania, have adopted laws that extend the definition of mandated reporter beyond the typical child-serving professionals - medical professionals, clergy, teachers, social workers, child care providers - by requiring all adults to be responsible for reporting suspected abuse and neglect. Though agencies, organizations, and institutions have the power to enforce background checks on workers, institute licensing standards on facilities, develop training modules on reporting child abuse and neglect, and provide support for professionals, one would have to ask - how can all adults receive the proper guidance on the topic if legislation requires them to be mandated reporters of abuse and neglect? And who would be penalized should these adults fail to act?

Last fall, various members of Congress who are known as champions of children's issues introduced bills to address gaps in the system and pose federal mandates on states to improve the safety and protection of children vulnerable to sexual predators. On November 17, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the State Children's Protection Act (S. 1887). This measure would require all states to enact legislation and implement policies mandating any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, or has observed any child being subjected to child abuse or neglect to immediately report the crime to child protective services or a local law enforcement agency. In addition, the law must specify that persons, institutions, or agencies required to report abuse and neglect that act on good faith would be immune from civil or criminal penalty. Mandated reporters who act in bad faith would suffer criminal or civil action. States that do not meet this requirement within a year will face a penalty and be required to forfeit the ability to reserve up to 10 percent of their federal grants used for crime control activities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Who Is Responsible?


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.