Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
All Maryland citizens should report suspected abuse or neglect to the local department of social services or to a local law enforcement agency. Ensuring the safety of Maryland’s children is an obligation shared by all citizens and organizations.
If you are a health care practitioner, educator, human service worker or a law enforcement officer, you are required by law to report both orally and in writing any suspected child abuse or neglect.
You should report your suspicion to the local department in the jurisdiction where you believe the abuse or neglect took or is taking place.
Oral reports should be made immediately. A mandated reporter must also complete a written report within 48 hours of contact which discloses the suspected abuse or neglect.
When making a report of suspected abuse, the report must include at minimal:
- The name and home address of the child and the parent or other individual responsible for the care of the child;
- The present location of the child;
- The age of the child (or approximate age);;
- Names and ages of other children in the home;
- The nature and extent of injuries or sexual abuse or neglect of the child
- Any information relayed by the individual making the report of previous possible physical or sexual abuse or neglect.
- Information available to the individual reporting that might aid in establishing the cause of the injury or neglect;
- The identity of the individual or individuals responsible for abuse or neglect
The person receiving your report will request additional information in order to obtain the most comprehensive and complete information possible to inform decision making and subsequent agency actions. Because Child Protective Services seeks to affect both safety and change, information on the family’s strengths as well as difficulties will be requested.
If reporting abuse or neglect of a child involving mental injury, a description of the substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function that was observed and identified and why it is believed to be attributable to an act of maltreatment or omission of proper care and attention.
All reports of suspected child abuse are immune from civil liability unless they are purposefully erroneous or malicious.