The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act
In Illinois, certain persons and professionals are mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, 325 ILCS 5/1, et. al. Failure to report suspected abuse or neglect can result in state license disciplinary proceedings or criminal prosecution.
The statute has a lengthy definition of abused child and covers a child whose parent or immediate family member, or any person responsible for the child’s welfare, or any individual residing in the same home or paramour of the child’s parent. The statute delineates a vast array of conduct including but not limited to acts which inflict, cause to be inflicted, or allow to be inflicted upon such child physical injury, by other than accidental means, which cause death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss or impairment of any bodily function; create a substantial risk of physical injury to such child other than by accidental means; commit or allow to be committed any sex offense against such child; commit or allow to be committed torture; inflict excessive corporal punishment; commit or allow female genital mutilation, or deliver controlled substances to the child or commit the offense of involuntary servitude of said child.
Under the law, a neglected child is any child not receiving proper or necessary nourishment or medically indicated treatment recognized under state law as being necessary for the child’s well-being.
The statute lists an extensive array of professions that are required to report suspected abuse and neglect, including physicians, residents, interns, hospitals, hospital administrators, dentists, dental hygienists, osteopaths, podiatrists, funeral home directors, school personnel, social workers, domestic violence program personnel, genetic counselors, director or staff assistant at nursery schools or day care centers, law enforcement and probation officers. The statute delineates even more professions which must report.
Any physician who willfully fails to report such instances shall be referred to the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Baord. Dentists and dental hygienists who willfully fail to report shall be referred to the Department of Professional Regulation. Any other person required by the Act to report suspected child abuse and neglect may be charged and found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent violation.
Knowingly filing a false report to the Department of Children and Family Services can result in being charged with the offense of disorderly conduct for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent offense.
If contacted, as a target of a child abuse or neglect investigation or for failure to report such an allegation if a mandated reporter, a person should contact an experienced defense attorney immediately.