How Does Mandatory Reporting Work in California Schools?

July 3, 2018
Posted on: July 3, 2018
Author: Ramey Law P.C.
Picture of a child holding a teddy bear

California is a large state with thousands of school districts. Each school has its own set of unique issues with each child. The concept of mandatory reporting was created to simplify how child abuse and bullying can be handled in schools across the country and in California. The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, or CANRA, is a set of California laws that are meant to protect children from suffering abuse or harm in school-related activities or functions. If you have a child in a California school, or you are a teacher or staff member at a California school, then you should understand what mandatory reporting is and why it is important.


What Is Mandatory Reporting and Who Must Follow These Laws?


California law requires people in certain positions of power over children to report any known or suspected neglect or abuse. Any adult should report actual or suspected abuse. However, many professionals are considered mandatory reporters under the law, and they must follow what the mandatory reporting law entails. If you are labeled as a mandatory reporter, then you must alert law enforcement at a local agency or a child welfare department if you know of suspect child abuse or neglect. This means that your duties go far beyond telling your supervisor.


In California, professionals that are included as mandatory reporters include:


  • Educators
  • Psychologists
  • Clergy members
  • Medical professionals
  • Social workers
  • Law enforcement and firefighters
  • Child care workers
  • Computer technicians


You must report the child abuse within 36 hours of knowing and/or receiving the information about the incident. Understand that if you are required to report child abuse under California law and you fail to do so, you could be charged with a crime. If you would like to know more about the signs of child abuse or about your role as a mandatory reporter, speak with one of our child abuse attorneys at Ramey Law P.C. today.