Effective January 1, 2020, significant changes to the Illinois mandated reporter law took effect for addressing child abuse and neglect issues. These changes are particularly important for all persons who care for children, in houses of worship, schools, and social service organizations. New training requirements apply for all mandated reporters, with clarification that all child care workers qualify as “mandated reporters.” Clergy members’ reporting obligations are now expanded, but their privilege not to report remains under certain circumstances. All mandated reporters are subject to the Act’s requirements for mandatory training.
The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (Act) was enacted more than forty years ago and has been amended several times. (See 325 ILCS 5.) Act reflects a paramount concern for protecting children against abuse and neglect. Anyone in Illinois may report suspected abuse through the following hotline number: 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873).
Some people are “mandated reporters” and therefore must promptly report suspected abuse to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Mandated reporters consist of a wide variety of people who may come into contact with children, such as physicians, substance abuse treatment personnel, school personnel, clergy members, foster parents, and other child care workers. Failure to comply with mandatory reporting requirements constitutes a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent violation.
Any child-care worker affiliated with a church, other house of worship, or other non-profit (whether in a paid capacity or as a volunteer) is now a “mandated reporter.”
Although child-care workers have long been mandated reporters, the Act thus now clarifies that volunteer child-care workers affiliated with a church or other house of worship are mandated reporters. Organizations with volunteer-heavy child-focused programs should be aware of this legal clarification’s impact on their reporting responsibilities. Volunteerism does not excuse anyone from such obligations.
Required trainings must be in-person or web-based. The trainings must be provided either through DCFS or through an organization approved by DCFS to provide mandated reporter training.
If you would like to receive information from Insurance Board via email, or someone else at your church should, please visit www.InsuranceBoard.org/email-address and enter your information. Thank you for allowing us to be a valued partner in protecting your ministry.
DCFS’s free web-based training resource for mandated reporters is available here.