California law designates certain individuals as "mandated reporters" for known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child, elder and dependent adult and incidents of violence. These individuals include those holding an active license from the Dental Board of California and, as of the beginning of 2021, human resources employees and supervisors at businesses who hire minors and have five or more employees. Mandated reporters must report known or suspected cases to the county department for child protective services or for adult protectives services or to local law enforcement.
All mandated reporters of child abuse must sign a statement acknowledging this responsibility. The statement and a copy of Penal Code sections 11165.7, 11166 and 11167 are to be provided by the employer. Employers are required to provide training to human resources employees and supervisors. The reporting mandate for these individuals does not include dependent/elder adult abuse.
Dentist employers are strongly encouraged to provide licensed staff with training associated with the responsibility of being a mandated reporter. Below are links to the Department of Social Services online training on both child abuse and neglect and on dependent/elder adult abuse. Whether or not employers provide employees with training, the lack of training does not excuse a mandated reporter from their responsibility to report. No supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit an individual's reporting duties or subject the mandated reporter to any sanction for making the report. The law, however, allows for establishment of internal procedures to facilitate reporting.
A mandated reporter who fails to make a report may be found guilty of a misdemeanor. A mandated reporter who makes a report in accordance with the law has protection from liability. Under certain circumstances, mandated reporters may seek reimbursement from the state crime victims fund for legal expenses.
A report first must be made by telephone to local law enforcement or to the county department responsible for child protective services and/or adult protective services. Within 36 hours of making the telephone call, complete and submit the appropriate form to the agency that received the telephoned report.
Linked below are a "Statement Acknowledging Reporting Obligations as a Mandated Reporter" and a copy of Penal Code sections 11165.7, 11166 and 11167. Employees can sign this statement, which is retained by the employer.
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