The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Miscellaneous Laws

Reports of Neglected and/or Abused Children

D.C. Code Ann. § 4-1321.01 et seq. and D.C. Code §22-3020.52
 

The Law on Mandatory Reporters § 4-1321.02(a) and (e)

These provisions require a report to be made regarding an individual suspected of neglect of a child in order to identify neglected children and to assure their protection and prevention of further abuse or neglect of the child or his/her siblings. Persons required to report suspected neglect or abuse include: physicians, psychologists, medical examiners, dentists, chiropractors, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, those who care and treat patients, law-enforcement officers, school officials, teachers, social service workers, day care workers, and mental health professionals. In the institutional setting, the staff member should immediately notify a person in charge of the institution who should then make a report. The fact that such a notification has been made does not relieve the person who was originally required to report from his or her duty under subsection (a) of this section of having a report made promptly to the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia or the Child and Family Services Agency.

§ 4-1321.02(a)

A Mandatory Reporter must report known or suspected mental or physical abuse or neglect of an individual less than 18 years of age, including whether the individual is in immediate danger of such abuse or neglect, which was learned in the Mandatory Reporter’s professional or official capacity. Reports must be made to the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency at (202) 671-7233 or to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) at 911.

A Mandatory Reporter is defined as:
Child and Family Services Agency employees, agents, and contractors, and every physician, psychologist, medical examiner, dentist, chiropractor, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, person involved in the care and treatment of patients, law-enforcement officer, humane officer of any agency charged with the enforcement of animal cruelty laws, school official, teacher, athletic coach, Department of Parks and Recreation employee, public housing resident manager, social service worker, day care worker, human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14 311(2), domestic violence counselor as defined in § 14 310(a)(2), and mental health professional as defined in § 7 1201.01(11).

An abused or neglected child, for this section, is defined as an individual less than 18 years old:


(i) who has been abandoned or abused by his or her parent, guardian, or custodian, or whose parent, guardian, or custodian has failed to make reasonable efforts to prevent the infliction of abuse upon the child. For the purposes of this sub-subparagraph, the term "reasonable efforts" includes filing a petition for civil protection from intrafamily violence pursuant to § 16 1003;


(ii) who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his or her physical, mental, or emotional health, and the deprivation is not due to the lack of financial means of his or her parent, guardian, or custodian;

(iii) whose parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to discharge his or her responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization, or other physical or mental incapacity;

(iv) whose parent, guardian, or custodian refuses or is unable to assume the responsibility for the child's care, control, or subsistence and the person or institution which is providing for the child states an intention to discontinue such care;

(v) who is in imminent danger of being abused and another child living in the same household or under the care of the same parent, guardian, or custodian has been abused;

(vi) who has received negligent treatment or maltreatment from his or her parent, guardian, or custodian;


(vii) who has resided in a hospital located in the District of Columbia for at least 10 calendar days
following the birth of the child, despite a medical determination that the child is ready for discharge from the hospital, and the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child has not taken any action or made any effort to maintain a parental, guardianship, or custodial relationship or contact with the child;


(viii) who is born addicted or dependent on a controlled substance or has a significant presence of a controlled substance in his or her system at birth;


(ix) in whose body there is a controlled substance as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian; or


(x) who is regularly exposed to illegal drug-related activity in the home.

 

For the nature and content of the report, see D.C. Code Ann. § 4-1321.03.

D.C. Code § 4-1321.02(e)

A Mandatory Reporter (same definition as above) must report known or suspected sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse, activity in prostitution, or injury by a bullet, knife, or other sharp object of an individual less than 16 years of age, including whether the individual is in immediate danger of such abuse or injuries, which was learned in the Mandatory Reporter’s professional or official capacity. Reports must be made to the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency at (202) 671-7233 or to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) at 911.

Penalty

Any person required to make a report under this subchapter who willfully fails to make such a report shall be fined not more than $1,000 (DC Code § 22-3571.01)  or imprisoned for not more than 180 days or both. Violations of this subchapter shall be prosecuted by the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia or his or her agent in the name of the District of Columbia. DC Code Ann. § 4.1321.07

Reports to be Made by Any Person over 18 years of Age
D.C. Code §22-3020.52

Any person over 18 years of age must report known or suspected sexual abuse of an individual less than 16 years of age to the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency at (202) 671-7233 or to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) at 911.

The definition of sexual abuse is broad and encompasses sex trafficking of children (§22-1834); abducting, enticing, or harboring a child from his or her home for the purposes of prostitution (§22-2704); using or promoting a minor in a sexual performance (§22-3102); or any violation of the D.C. Code’s section on Sexual Abuse (§22-3001 et. seq.).

 

 

Resources

 

State Laws on Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect current through Nov. 2013 Authored by Child Welfare Information Gateway, for the Childrens Bureau, Administration  on Children Youth and Families, HHS.

Free Training on the DC reporting law is available on the DC Child and Family Services Agency Page

updated 4-10-15 to add reference to new law and SZG notes on all laws