Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection

3.4 Health Protection in Child Care

3.4.4 Child Abuse and Neglect Immunity for Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/28/2018

Caregivers/teachers who in good faith report suspected abuse and neglect should be protected from discharge, retaliation, or other disciplinary action. Immunity from civil or criminal liability should not be provided in those instances when the person making a report acted with malice or in “bad faith” or knowingly made a false report (1).


Under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, states are required to provide some form of immunity from liability for persons reporting suspected instances of child abuse or neglect. The term good faith encompasses an individual with a sincere belief and motives outside of malice or with intentions to defraud others (2). The reporter, to the best of his or her knowledge, has reason to believe that the child in question is being subjected to abuse or neglect (1). Unfortunately, many professionals, including caregivers/teachers, do not always report suspicions of child abuse and neglect, leading to underreporting of child abuse (3). These legislative acts are an effort to eliminate fears of repercussions in reporting suspected child abuse/neglect.



To access the statutes for a specific state or territory, visit the State Statutes Search at


Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Stress Management for Staff Recognizing and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Preventing and Identifying Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma Care for Children Who Have Experienced Abuse/Neglect Records of Injury
Appendix M: Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect
Appendix N: Protective Factors Regarding Child Abuse and Neglect
  1. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Immunity for Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau; 2016. Accessed June 26, 2018

  2. Brashler R, Finestone HM, Nevison C, et al. Time to make a call? The ethics of mandatory reporting. PM R. 2016;8(1):69–74

  3. Walsh WA, Jones LM. Factors that Influence Child Abuse Reporting: A Survey of Child-Serving Professionals. Durham, NH: Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire; 2015


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/28/2018