Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse/Neglect

If you work in one of the professions listed below, you are a mandated reporter. This means that once you suspect a child may have been abused or neglected, you are required by law to report your suspicions to Family Services—within 24 hours.

Mandated Reporters in Vermont

  • Chiropractors, dentists, emergency medical personnel, licensed practical nurses, medical examiners, mental health professionals, osteopaths, pharmacists, physicians, physicians’ assistants, psychologists, registered nurses, surgeons, and any other health care providers;
  • Hospital administrators, interns, and resident physicians in any hospital in the state;
  • School superintendents, principals, headmasters (independent schools), teachers, librarians, guidance counselors, and other individuals regularly employed by, or contracted and paid by, school districts or independent schools to provide student services;
  • Childcare workers, police officers, probation officers, social workers, and clergy members;
  • Residential and non-residential camp administrators, counselors, and owners; and
  • Employees, contractors, and grantees of the Agency of Human Services who have contact with clients.
  

How do I make a report?

Call our 24-hour child protection hotline:1-800-649-5285. A social worker will ask you questions about the situation, ask you to complete a written report, and in some cases, ask you to gather more information. Fax your written report to (802) 241-3301. 

Try to have as much information on hand as possible, including:

  • The names of the child’s parents/caretakers;
  • The child’s name, date of birth, home address, school or child care facility; and
  • The nature and extent of the injuries or allegations of abuse/neglect

What if I am not sure whether what I suspect is abuse?

If you are not sure whether a report is warranted, please call us for advice. You may also want to seek our advice if you are thinking about telling the parents about your report; in some cases, this could endanger the child and hinder the response.


What information may be shared with me?

If you are a mandated reporter, we will share the following information with you:

  • Whether your report was accepted for investigation or assessment;
  • If an investigation was conducted, whether it was substantiated; and
  • If an assessment was conducted, whether a need for services was found.

What about HIPAA?

The HIPAA privacy rule allows covered entities to disclose protected health information to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect — if the report is made to a government authority authorized by law to receive such reports.


Can I be sued?

Vermont law provides you with immunity from civil or criminal liability as long as your report was made in good faith.


Is my report confidential?

We will not divulge your identity unless:

  • You give us your permission to do so;
  • Your report leads to a court or human services board proceeding;
  • A court finds probable cause to believe your report was not made in good faith and orders DCF to divulge your identity; or
  • The person substantiated for abuse requests a review of the decision, and we determine that identifying information about you can be provided without compromising your safety.

Where Can I Get More Information?