Clergy as Mandatory reporters webinar

WEBINAR -- APRIL 12, 2012
Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan, Colorado Council of Churches
Becky Miller Updike, Office of Colorado’s Child Abuse Prevention Ombudsman
Stephanie Villafuerte, Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center
of Churches
Colorado Council of Churches
Living in Unity, Working for Justice
Twelve denominations come together to live in unity and
work for justice.
The individual denominations do not relate to the C.C.C.
The Colorado Council of Churches serves as the avenue
which enables the individual denominations to relate to
each other.
 The Colorado Council of Churches is not itself the Body
of Christ: rather it enables the member denominations to
come together to be a fuller expression and a more
powerful witness of the Body of Christ than any one
denomination can be by itself.
Office of Colorado’s Child Protection
An Ombudsman is an independent, unbiased and trusted
intermediary between the public and some entity. In this
case, the entity is child protection.
The Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman has the
power and duty to facilitate a process of independent,
impartial review of family and community concerns;
request independent, accurate information and to conduct
case reviews to help resolve child protection issues and
overall systemic issues.
The Ombudsman is not set up to directly respond to
emergencies regarding child safety. If a child is in danger,
always call law enforcement or your local Department of
Human Services.
 OCCPO cannot investigate or overturn the acts or
decisions of courts, judges, or their staff.
 OCCPO cannot provide legal advice.
• Toll Free: 1-855-5-SAFEKIDS
• Direct: (303) 864-5321
• Email: [email protected]
Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center
Founded in 1981
The Children’s Law Center provides legal
representation for more than 1,500 abused and
neglected children each year.
The mission of the Children’s Law Center is to
change the lives of abused and neglected children
through compassionate legal advocacy, education
and public policy reform.
What Are Mandatory Reporting Laws?
Mandatory reporting laws impose
special obligations and
responsibilities on a wide range of
professions and occupations to
report child abuse or neglect.
Why Are There Mandatory Reporting
Law recognizes that many professionals develop
trusting relationships with children and are likely to
obtain personal information from the child in that
Law wants to protect children from abuse by
mandating professionals to report these incidents
Law wants to ensure that abuse reports are given
immediate attention and consistent response from
law enforcement/human service professionals
Who Must Report Suspected Child
Abuse and Neglect?
 There are 35 different categories of professionals
who must report suspected child abuse and neglect.
 Includes but is not limited to:
Physicians, dentists, optometrist, registered nurse
 Public/ private school official or employee
Social Workers
Commercial film processors
Animal control officers
Who Must Report Suspected Abuse
and Neglect?
This law includes “clergy members” (effective June
“Clergy Member” means “a priest, rabbi, duly
ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a
church, member of a religious order, or recognized
leader of any religious body.” C.R.S. 19-3-304
*Note: Any other person not listed may report known or
suspected child abuse or neglect.
Exception to Clergy Reporting
 Confidential Communications pursuant to privilege
statute C.R.S. 13-90-107(1)(c)
 C.R.S. 13-90-107 is a testimonial privilege only. It allows
an individual the right not to testify in court about a
specified communication
A clergy member, minister, priest, or rabbi shall not be
examined without both his or her consent and also the
consent of the person making the confidential
communication as to any confidential communication
made to him or her in his or her professional capacity in
the course of discipline expected by the religious body to
which he or she belongs.
What does this Exception Mean?
Exception to Clergy as Mandatory Reporters only
applies to:
Direct communications between clergy/member
Communications occurring in a professional context
Communications otherwise protected by C.R.S. 13-90-107 are
not obligated to be reported UNLESS there are other sources
of information which cause reasonable suspicion of abuse
Communications MAY still be reported
Clergy are mandatory reporters if:
Clergy member status does not in itself bar all
communications. Examples: Coach, mentor, teacher,
disclosure by a child/third party.
What Does the Law Require?
 A person who has reasonable cause to know or
suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or
neglect OR
 Who has observed the child being subjected to
circumstances or conditions which would reasonably
result in abuse or neglect
Shall immediately upon receiving such information
report or cause a report to be made of such fact to the
county department or local law enforcement agency.”
C.R.S. 19-3-304
Child: C.R.S. 19-1-103(18) defines “child” as a person
under eighteen years of age.
Reasonable Cause:
• Being in accordance with reason
• Not extreme or excessive
• Moderate/Fair
• Having the faculty of reason
• Possessing sound judgment
Exceptions to Reporting
If mandatory reporter learns of abuse/neglect after
victims turns 18 years old AND does not have
reasonable cause to know or suspect that the
perpetrator of the abuse/neglect;
 Has subjected any other child under 18 to
abuse/neglect; OR
 Is currently in a position of trust with regard to any
other child currently under 18 years old;
What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
“Abuse” or “child abuse or neglect”
means an act or omission in one of
seven categories that threatens the
health or welfare of a child.” C.R.S. 19-1103.
Method of Injury/Neglect
Three ways to cause Physical Injury and General Neglect
 A person commits child abuse if such person causes an
injury to a child’s life or health
 Permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation
that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health
 Engages in a continued pattern of conduct that results in
malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, cruel
punishment, mistreatment, or an accumulation of injuries
that ultimately results in the death of a child or serious
bodily injury to a child.” C.R.S. 18-6-401(1)(a)
Seven Categories of Abuse/Neglect
Physical Injury
Unlawful Sexual Behaviors Against Children
Emotional Abuse
 Neglected or Dependent Child
Manufacture/Attempted Manufacture of Controlled
Substance in presence of a Child
Child Positive for Controlled Substance at Birth
Category One: Physical Injury
Bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive,
burns, bone fractures, subdural hematoma, tissue
swelling, or death
Such condition or death is not justifiably explained
The history given concerning such condition is at
variance with the degree or type of such condition or
The circumstances indicate that such condition may
not be the product of an accidental occurrence. C.R.S.
Category Two: Unlawful Sexual
Behavior Against Children
 Any case in which a child is subjected to unlawful
sexual behavior as defined in C.R.S. 16-22-102 (no
statute of limitations per C.R.S. 16-5-401)
Unlawful Sexual Contact, C.R.S. 18-3-404
Sexual Assault, C.R.S. 18-3-402
Sexual Assault on a Child, C.R.S.18-3-405
Category Two: Unlawful Sexual
Behavior Against Children
Sexual Assault on a Child/Position of Trust, C.R.S. 18-
Sexual Exploitation of a Child, C.R.S. 18-6-403
Procurement of a child, C.R.S. 18-7-403.5
Keeping a place of child prostitution, C.R.S. 18-7-404
Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation, C.R.S.
Category Two: Unlawful Sexual
Behavior Against Children
Patronizing a child prostitute, C.R.S.18-7-406
Soliciting for Child Prostitution, C.R.S. 18-7-402
 Pandering of a child, C.R.S. 18-7-403
Pimping of a child, C.R.S. 18-7-405
Inducement of child prostitution, C.R.S. 18-7-405.5
Category Two: Unlawful Sexual
Behavior Against Children
Trafficking in children, C.R.S. 18-6-402
 Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist,
 Incest, C.R.S.18-6-301
 Aggravated Incest, C.R.S. 18-6-302
 Indecent Exposure, C.R.S. 18-7-302
Category Three: General Neglect of
Basic Necessities of Life
 Child is in need of adequate food, clothing, shelter,
medical care, or supervision
 Parents, legal guardian, or custodian fails to take the
same actions to provide these necessities that a
prudent parent would take.
Threatens the health or welfare of a child
C.R.S. 19-1-103(1)(a)(III)
Category Four: Emotional Abuse
An identifiable and substantial impairment of the
child’s intellectual or psychological functioning or
 A substantial risk of impairment of the child’s
intellectual or psychological functioning or
development.” C.R.S. Section 19-1-1-103(1)(a)(IV)
Category Five: Dependent/Neglected
Child Under Juvenile Court Proceeding
Abandonment, Mistreatment/Abuse, Allowing another
to Mistreat/Abuse a Child
Injurious Environment
Failure to provide life necessities
Homeless Child
Child is run-away/Beyond Control of Parent
Child tests positive for controlled substance at birth
C.R.S. 19-3-102
*Exception: Medical treatment by spiritual means not
per se neglect unless court orders treatment per C.R.S.
19-3-103 and said order is ignored.
Category Six: Child in Presence of
Controlled Substance
In presence of a child or on premises where child is
found or resides
A controlled substance is manufactured or attempted
to be manufactured
Schedule I, II Controlled Substances (Cocaine,
Category Seven: Child Tests Positive
for Controlled Substance
Child tests positive at birth for schedule I, II
controlled substance
Not applicable if mother has taken substance lawfully
as prescribed by a physician
Review: Seven Categories of
Physical Injury
Unlawful Sexual Behaviors Against Children
Emotional Abuse
 Neglected or Dependent Child
Manufacture/Attempted Manufacture of Controlled
Substance in presence of a Child
Child Positive for Controlled Substance at Birth
Where to Report Child Abuse/Neglect?
Colorado Law Requires a Report to:
Local Police Department
Local Health and Human Service Office
No Exceptions (not to supervisors,
relatives of child or co-workers)
How Do I Make A Report ?
State you are mandated reporter
Questions you will be asked:
• Name, address, age, ethnicity and gender of child
• Name and address of person responsible
• Nature and extent of the child’s injuries
• Family composition of child/perpetrator
• Source of the report, with name, address, occupation
• Any action taken by the person reporting the abuse
• Any other information such as potential witnesses
Document the name of the worker, the date/time
of your call and the information given.
What Happens After A Report is Made?
 Your report is confidential by law
 A screener will take your information
and submit it to a supervisor who will do a risk assessment.
 If your report is assigned to a caseworker, he/she must
respond in the amount of time required by the assessment.
 Once an investigation is in process, information generated
by the case becomes confidential by law. As the reporting
party, you will not be notified as to the outcome of the investigation
 You may be contacted by a caseworker for further information.
 Once the report has been made, it is not your responsibility to do any
further investigation.
How do I Know What Happens with My
In limited circumstances mandatory reporters can
receive follow up information on their report (C.R.S.
A mandatory reporter may receive only the
information he or she needs to know in order to fulfill
his or her professional and official role in maintaining
the child's safety
Information provided to mandatory reporters is
confidential and cannot be disclosed by law
What is my Liability for Reporting?
Any person participating in good faith in the making
of a report shall be immune from any civil and/or
criminal liability
Penalties for Failure to Report
Unlawful to:
 Knowingly make a false report of abuse or neglect
 Willfully fail to report when required to do so
 Civil liability for damages proximately caused
thereby. C.R.S. 19-3-304(4)(a)
A class 3 misdemeanor is punishable by a minimum
of a $50 fine up to six months imprisonment, or $750
fine, or both. C.R.S. 18-1-106(1)

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