Stopping child abuse or neglect hinges in large part on spotting its signs. That’s why authorities say it’s important for professionals who routinely have the closest contact with kids — such as physicians or teachers — to be alert and be ready to report indications a child may have been subject to abuse or neglect.
Teachers, health care workers, firefighters and clergy, among other professionals, are designated “mandatory reporters” under Colorado law. That means they much report reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Failure to do so is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Today, a Senate committee voted to expand the list of those who must report. House Bill 1185, which was unanimously approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, adds officials and employees of county departments of health, human and social services to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse.
According to a Senate GOP press release, more than 19,000 reports of child abuse and neglect were handled by Colorado state officials over the past two years, with the Department of Human Services assessing the conditions of over 10,000 children.
The press release quotes HB 1185’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Smallwood, R-Parker:
“Our children are our future, and our most precious resource…This is a simple, common-sense fix that has the potential to bring more instances of this traumatic abuse to light and help these kids out of the shadows. Officials who are legally mandated to report instances of abuse or neglect, especially those in health and social services, are trained to recognize the signs and can make a world of difference for these children with one seemingly small act.”