Okay new Child Welfare Workers here is the one question you might get asked most often. You are talking to the parent delicately discussing concerns about the child. You might be saying there are concerns about the bruises your son has on his thigh. The parent’s face gets red and they start to yell at you I demand to know who reported me. Well workers this was a trick statement if the parent makes this kind of statement when you have not implied anything then you got your abuser. Just fully document your conversation as it happened. But things always do not go this easily. However you will be often asked who reported the incident. The answer is simple as per regulations it can not be revealed who made the report. Well unless it is court ordered. It is easy to understand why, someone who is concerned about the welfare of a child deserves to be protected. There are seriously some bad people living in this State. If you gave out the name of the reporter the alleged perpetrator could retaliate against the person making the report.
Do people make false reports and should they be held liable the answer is yes and of course. I will discuss this topic later. Note as a Child Welfare Worker you come across a referral and through your thorough investigation you come to believe that the report was malicious you can contact the reporter for additional information providing they were dumb enough to leave legitimate contact information after doing this.
Who is a mandatory reporter of child abuse? Everyone knows that any health care worker or school employee is mandated to report such concerns but the reality is everyone who becomes aware of a possible case of child abuse and or neglect is a mandatory reporter. Oklahoma Statue 10 A- 1-1-101, 1-2-101. Covers who is required to report and here is the link http://www.rainn.org/files/reportingdatabase/Oklahoma/OklahomaChildrenMandatoryReporting.pdf If you are concerned about a child yet unsure about making a report read that information.
Are there penalties about knowing about abuse and or neglect and not reporting it? Well if you are a professional such as a doctor, nurse, teacher, social worker the penalties could be quite severe. The laws are sometimes sketchy about the liability of a person who is aware of child abuse and neglect but chooses not to report it. If the person is another parent, guardian, family member care provider etc of a child and who is aware of possible or alleged abuse and do not report it to protect someone else then yes they can be charged for permitting Child Abuse and Neglect.
If a person is suspicious that a child is abused or neglected and later they find out that the child died, or was being sexually abused, tortured etc then how could you live with that if you could of prevented it.
Now for the parents who are upset and want to know who reported, just calm down. Listen to the concerns being stated by the worker. Chances are if you are good at listening you will figure out who made the report.