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May 29, 2008

House Bill 3133: Includes Family Members as Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters

Authors:
Rep. Calvin K.Y. Say

Summary:
House Bill 3133 would have added family members to the list of mandatory reporters in cases of abuse and neglect. HSLDA supports efforts to prevent abuse or neglect of children. However, we are concerned about the number of intentionally false reports and reports made to social services that are eventually unsubstantiated. Nationally, family members and anonymous reporters make up over 40% of all unsubstantiated reports and over 70% of all intentionally false reports of abuse and neglect.

Furthermore, false and unsubstantiated reports take valuable time and attention away from legitimate cases of abuse and neglect. We would like see penalties for false and/or malicious reports of abuse or neglect added to this bill to protect innocent families and prevent unnecessary investigations by caseworkers.

Status:

1/25/2008Referred to the Committee on Human Services & Housing and the Judiciary Committee
2/5/2008Heath and Human Services Passed with amendments
2/14/2008Referred to the Judiciary committee
5/1/2008Legislature Adjourned

Bill died when legislature adjourned.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is currently neutral on this bill.

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time

Background:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the 2005 Child Maltreatment report, over 24% of those reports that are unsubstantiated are made by other reporters, relatives, or parents. If you add in reports from anonymous or unknown reporters they account for over 41% of all unsubstantiated reports. If you examine those reports that are intentionally false, over 42% are made by other reporters, relatives, or parents. Add in anonymous or unknown reporters and they account for an astounding 70% of all intentionally false reports.

If abuse/neglect reporters are told that their name and information will be keep confidential but that they could be prosecuted for intentionally false or malicious reports innocent families will be protected and CPS won’t be overwhelmed with false and malicious reports tying up valuable time to investigate legitimate reports.

 Other Resources

Bill Text (html)

Bill History