Every State, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statutes
that identify persons who are required to report child maltreatment under specific circumstances. 1 Approximately 28 States and Guam currently include members of the clergy among those professionals specifically mandated by law to report known or suspected instances of child abuse or neglect. 2 In approximately 18 States and Puerto Rico, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report it.3 This inclusive language appears to include clergy but may be interpreted otherwise.
1 For more information on mandated reporters, see Child Welfare Information Gateway’s Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/
2 The word “approximately” is used to stress the fact that States frequently amend their laws. This information is current only through August 2015. States that include clergy as mandated reporters are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio,
Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
3 Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Three of these States Mississippi, New Hampshire, and New Mexico) also enumerate clergy as mandated reporters.