Mandated reporters are legally required to report suspected child abuse and neglect to DCF's Family Services Division — within 24 hours.
If a child is in immediate danger, dial 911 or call the local police. Then, call to make a report.
Who Is Mandated To Report
See the list of mandated reporters in Vermont.
Your Legal Obligation
If you reasonably suspect child abuse or neglect, you are legally required to make a report within 24 hours of the time you first observed, or received information about, the suspected abuse/neglect.
How To Make A Report
- Call 1-800-649-5285 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Gather as much information as possible before you call.
- A social worker will:
- Question you about the situation.
- Record the information you provide.
- Ask you to submit a written report.
- Ask you to gather more information if it's needed.
How To Submit A Written Report
- Download Form FS-305 to your computer.
- Complete it electronically or by hand.
- Fax it to (802) 241-3301.
What Happens Next
What We Can Share
If you are a mandated reporter, we can share the following with you:
- Whether your report was accepted as a valid allegation of abuse or neglect.
- Whether the assessment determined the need for ongoing services.
- Whether an investigation was conducted. If so, whether it resulted in substantiation.
We may also provide relevant information and records related to a report you made if you have an ongoing working relationship with the child or family who is the subject of the report. You may not share this information with any person not authorized to get it.
For more information, refer to Policy 157: Records and Information Sharing.
Other Frequently-Asked Questions
What if several people in my organization need to report the same information/incident?
We strongly recommend that you report as a group, by phone or in writing. The same 24-hour time limit applies.
What if my employer has a policy about notifying supervisors or managers about suspected child abuse or neglect?
As a mandated reporter, you are legally required to make a report on time and will be liable if one is not made.
What if I'm not sure?
Call us for advice, if you are not sure a report is warranted or are considering telling the parents about your report. You need only have a reasonable suspicion that abuse or neglect happened to make a report. If in doubt, report!
What is my liability?
Vermont law provides you with immunity from civil or criminal liability if your report was made in good faith. Failing to report as required by law can result in:
- Criminal prosecution with a fine of up to $500.
- Imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000 if the intent was to conceal the abuse or neglect.
What about HIPAA?
The HIPAA privacy rule allows covered organizations to disclose protected health information to report suspected child abuse or neglect to government authorities authorized by law to receive such reports.
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.
- 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.