September 30, 2021
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
As you may recall, in the August 2021 edition of the HR Update, we provided you with information about Child Protection Clearances as a part of our series on CMU's commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment for minors. The fourth and final installment of the series provides an overview of mandatory reporting.
In 2016, in compliance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) and in support of a safe and secure campus environment, Carnegie Mellon University adopted the Policy on the Protection of Children in Carnegie Mellon University Programs, Activities and Facilities. The Policy established registration requirements for programs and activities involving minors, completion of Child Protection Clearances for individuals interacting with minors, and mandatory reporting requirements for the CMU community. It also established Child Protection Operations as the entity responsible for evaluation and administration of these requirements.
Under CPSL, all CMU employees and student workers are mandatory reporters of child abuse. In addition, volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of a minor or who have direct contact with minors are also mandatory reporters.
Child abuse can come in many forms, and if a CMU employee (or volunteer who is responsible for the welfare of a minor or who has direct contact with minors) has reasonable cause to suspect that a minor is being abused, they are required under the law to immediately file a report.
A mandatory reporter must immediately file a report if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a minor is the victim of child abuse in the following circumstances:
- The mandatory reporter comes into contact with the minor in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service;
- The mandatory reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the minor, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of a minor;
- A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandatory reporter that an identifiable minor is the victim of child abuse;
- An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandatory reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.
For more information about the specific definition of child abuse under Pennsylvania law, please review the Mandatory Reporting Booklet [pdf].
To report child abuse, the mandatory reporter must make both an internal (CMU) and external (PA ChildLine) report.
- Internal reports should be directed to the Carnegie Mellon University Police Department at 412-268-2323 or the Office of General Counsel at 412-268-7367.
- External reports should be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services either by phone through the Child Abuse Hotline (Childline) at 1-800-932-0313, or online via the Child Welfare Portal.
For additional information on recognizing or disclosing instances of child abuse, please visit the Office of General Counsel's webpage on Mandatory Reporting.
Resources and Further Information
The Child Protection Operations team is available to answer any questions you may have related to mandatory reporting, Child Protection Clearances or other requirements involving working with minors. Please visit OHR's Child Protection Operations pages for more information. Additionally, Karen Whistler Eck is available to assist with any questions or concerns.
The HR Update quarterly newsletter is doing a four-part series to introduce the team, their work, and what you need to know regarding compliance with university policy and state law.