Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect: Crafting a Positive Process for Health Professionals

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Health professionals working with children and their families are often required by law to report to governmental authorities any reasonable suspicion of child abuse and/or neglect. Extant research has pointed toward various barriers to reporting, with scant attention to positive processes to support the reporting process. This paper focuses on the context for mandatory reporting and evidence-informed practice for supporting a more structured and purposeful process of mandatory reporting. These practical strategies discusses: (1) the factors that positively influence the relationship between a child's caregivers and the mandated health professional reporter; (2) a framework and specific skills for discussing concerns about maltreatment and reporting to child protective services with the caregiver(s); and (3) the need for further training and education of health professionals.

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