Return to CT.Gov Home
Department of Children and Families
DCF Logo

Policy Manual


Summary of Legal Requirements Concerning  the Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

Public Policy of
the State of Connecticut

The public policy of the State of Connecticut is to protect children whose health and welfare may be adversely affected through injury and neglect; to strengthen the family and to make the home safe for children by enhancing the parental capacity for good child care; to provide a temporary or permanent nurturing and safe environment for children when necessary; and for these purposes to require the reporting of suspected child abuse, investigation of such reports by a social agency, and provision of services, where needed, to such child and family.

Legal References: CONN. GEN. STAT. 17a-101 et seq.


Who Makes a Report

Anyone may cause an oral or written report to be made to the Department or a law enforcement agency when that person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child or youth under the age of eighteen (18) is in danger of being abused or has been abused or neglected.

Mandated reporters are those persons (listed below) who are specifically required by statute to make a report when, in the ordinary course of their employment or  profession, they have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child under the age of eighteen (18) years

  • has been abused or neglected;

  • has had non-accidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of such injury, inflicted upon such child; or

  • is placed at imminent risk of serious harm.


What Must be Reported 

The following child abuse or neglect situations must be reported to the Department:

Child Abuse:  Any child or youth who has a non-accidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of such injury, or who is in a condition which is the result of maltreatment such as, but not limited to, malnutrition, sexual molestation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment or cruel punishment.

Child Neglect:  Any child or youth who has been abandoned or is being denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally or morally or is being permitted to live under conditions, circumstances or associations injurious to his/her well-being or has been abused.

Child Under Thirteen (13) with Venereal Disease:  A physician or facility must report to Hotline upon the consultation, examination or treatment for venereal disease of any child not more than twelve (12) years old.


List of Mandated Reporters The following persons are mandated reporters: 



Battered Women’s Counselors


Dental Hygienists


Department of Children and Families Employees

Licensed/Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors

Licensed/Certified Emergency Medical Services


Licensed Marital and Family Therapists

Licensed or Unlicensed Resident Interns 

Licensed or Unlicensed Resident Physicians

Licensed Physicians 

Licensed Practical Nurses 

Licensed Professional Counselors 

Licensed Surgeons

Medical Examiners

Members of the Clergy

Mental Health Professionals


Parole Officers (Juvenile or Adult)


Physical Therapists                                            

Physician Assistants                                          


Police Officers

Probation Officers (Juvenile or Adult)


Registered Nurses

School Coaches

School Guidance Counselors                          

School Paraprofessionals

School Principals

School Teachers                                                 

Sexual Assault Counselors

Social Workers



Any person paid to care for a child in any public or private facility, child day care center, group day care home or family day care home which is licensed by the State.

Department of Public Health employees responsible for the licensing of child day care centers, group day care homes, family day care homes or youth camps.

The Child Advocate and any employee of the Office of the Child Advocate. 


Reporting Requirements

The reporting requirements are as follows:

  • An oral report shall be made by a mandated reporter by telephone or in person to the DCF Hotline or to a law enforcement agency as soon as practicable, but not later than twelve (12) hours after having reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused or neglected or placed in imminent risk of serious harm.

  • Within forty-eight (48) hours of making an oral report, a mandated reporter shall submit a written report to the DCF Hotline (DCF-136, “Report of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect”).

  • When the report concerns an employee of a facility or institution that provides care for a child and which is licensed by the state, the mandated reporter shall also send a copy of the written report to the executive head of the state licensing agency.

  • If the mandated reporter is a member of the staff of a public or private institution or facility that provides care for the child or public or private school, the reporter shall also submit a copy of the report to the person in charge of the institution, facility or school or the person’s designee.

  • If a law enforcement agency receives an oral report, it shall immediately notify the DCF Hotline.

  • DCF shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within twelve (12) hours of receipt of a report alleging sexual abuse or serious physical abuse, including, but not limited to, a report that a child

    • has died

    • has been sexually assaulted

    • has suffered brain damage or loss or serious impairment of a bodily function or organ

    • has been sexually exploited, or

    • has suffered serious non-accidental physical injury.



Reporter Liability and Protections

Any person, institution or agency which, in good faith, makes or does not make a report shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability provided such person did not perpetrate or cause such abuse or neglect.

No employer shall discharge, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee who in good faith makes a report, as above, testifies or is about to testify in any proceeding involving child abuse or neglect.


Penalty for Not Reporting

Any person required to report who fails to make such report

  • shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $2500.00, and

  • shall be required to participate in an educational and training program.


Penalty for Making a False Claim

Any person who knowingly makes a false report of child abuse or neglect shall be fined not more than $2,000.00 or imprisoned not more than one (1) year or both.

The name of such person shall be disclosed to the appropriate law enforcement agency and to the perpetrator of the alleged abuse.

 Connecticut Department of Children and Families                  Effective Date:  April 7, 2003 (Revised)