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Child Abuse Mandated Reporting

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, California Penal Code §§ 11164-11174.3 (“CANRA” or the “Act”), identifies certain groups of employees as “Mandated Reporters” of child abuse and imposes various obligations on and extends certain protections to those Mandated Reporters as well as their employers. As a covered employer, the California State University (CSU) is required to comply with the Act.

CSU Executive Order 1083 Revised identifies two categories of employees as mandated reporters:

  • General Reporters: those who are legally required to report child abuse or neglect no matter where it occurs.
  • Limited Reporters: those who are legally required to report child abuse or neglect only if it occurs on CSU premises or at an official activity of, or program conducted by, the CSU.

SSU Employees’ Designation

Sonoma State University is somewhat unique hosting a local K-12 school, Technology High School, on its campus, and allowing their students full access to the campus. Since access is not limited for these students known to be minors, most of SSU employees are designated as “Limited Reporters.”

General Reporters include the following SSU employees:

  • Management Personnel Plan (MPP) Employees
  • Employees in departments within the Student Affairs Division
  • Employees in Athletics department
  • Employees in University Police department
  • Employees in EXCEL program
  • Academic Student Employees

All other employees and all volunteers are designated as "Limited Reporters."


  • Non-management employees hired prior to January 1, 1985
  • Non-academic student employees
  • Financial Services employees who are in the departments of Financial Aid or Seawolf Services

How to Report

Step One - By phone: Immediately, or as soon as possible, after observing the abuse and/or neglect, make a telephone report to Sonoma County Child Protection 24/7 Hotline (707) 565-4304 or (800) 870-7064

Step Two - In Writing: Within 36 hours, file a written report and email it to, or fax to (707) 565-4324. Complete the California Suspected Child Abuse form (SS 8572) online. Click here to see the state guidelines for completing Form SS 8572. You can save the document, then email the form, or download the form, print and fax.

In case of an emergency or if a crime is in progress, employees should always immediately call 911.

Required Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status

To comply with the CSU Executive Order 1083 Revised, SSU employees and volunteers are required to complete the Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status and Legal Duty to Report Child Abuse and Neglect form.

Current employees and volunteers will be emailed the appropriate forms per their designation, and are required to complete and submit the form back to HR no later than October 31, 2017.

Effective September 1, 2017, new employees and volunteers are required to sign the acknowledgement no later than first day of hire.

When Reporting Is Required

The Act requires Mandated Reporters to report child abuse and neglect whenever, in their professional capacity or within the scope of their employment, they observe or reasonably suspect it. For General Reporters, reporting extends to suspected abuse or neglect wherever it occurs. For Limited Reporters, the reporting obligation is limited to suspected abuse or neglect occurring on CSU premises or at an official activity of, or program conducted by, the CSU.

A Mandated Reporter should reasonably suspect child abuse or neglect whenever “it is objectively reasonable … to entertain such a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing, when appropriate, on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse or neglect.” (Penal Code § 11166(a)). Facts upon which a reasonable suspicion may arise do not have to have been witnessed by the Mandated Reporter but can be learned from other sources.

The Mandated Reporter is responsible for determining when reporting is required and following the reporting procedures identified in the Act, as summarized below. In other words, it is the individual employee’s legal obligation to report, not the CSU’s.

Abuse That Must Be Reported

Please remember: the mandated reporter must only have reasonable suspicion that a child has been mistreated; no evidence or proof is required prior to making a report. The case will be further investigated by law enforcement and/or child welfare services.

Mandated Reporters must report the following types of abuse or neglect:

  • Physical Abuse : Physical injury other than by accidental means inflicted on a child (Penal Code § 11165.6)
  • Sexual Assault: Including sex acts with a child, intentional masturbation in the presence of a child, child molestation, and lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age or with a child under 16 years of age if the other person is at least ten years older than the child (Penal Code § 11165.1(a)(b))
  • Sexual Exploitation: Including acts relating to child pornography, child prostitution, or performances involving obscene sexual conduct by a child (Penal Code § 11165.1(c))
  • Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse between a child under 16 years of age and a person 21 years of age or older, which is also a form of “sexual assault” (Penal Code § § 261.5(d) and 11165.1(a))
  • Neglect: Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a parent, guardian or caretaker under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child's health or welfare (Penal Code § 11165.2)
  • Willful harming or Injuring or Endangering a Child: A situation in which any person inflicts, or willfully causes or permits a child to suffer, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or causes or permits a child to be placed in a situation in which the child or child's health is endangered (Penal Code § 11165.3)
  • Unlawful corporal punishment: A situation in which any person willfully inflicts upon a child cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or a physical injury (Penal Code § 11165.4)

What Is Not Child Abuse?

The following are examples of what is not child abuse or neglect for reporting purposes:

  • Injuries caused by two children fighting during a mutual altercation (Penal Code §11165.6)
  • An injury caused by reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer acting within the course and scope of his or her employment (Penal Code §11165.6)
  • Reasonable and necessary force used by public school officials to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to person or damage to property, for self-defense, or to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects under a child’s control (Penal Code § 11165.4)
  • Corporal punishment, unless it is cruel or inhuman or willfully inflicts a physical injury (Penal Code § 11165.4)
  • Not receiving medical treatment for religious reasons (Penal Code §11165.2(b))
  • Acts performed for a valid medical purpose (Penal Code §11165.1(b)(3))
  • An informed and appropriate medical decision made by a parent, guardian or caretaker after consultation with a physician who has examined the child (Penal Code §11165.2(b))

Immunity and Confidentiality of Reporter

Mandated Reporters cannot be held civilly or criminally liable for their reports. Instead, they are granted immunity from prosecution for their reporting of suspected child abuse (Penal Code § 11172(a)). Both the identity of the person who reports and the report itself are confidential and disclosed only among appropriate agencies (Penal Code § 11167(d)).

Failure to Report

Failure to report concerns of child abuse or neglect is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable in California by six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.


“Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect” is training which will be assigned to all employees and delivered through our Learning Management System, Skillport. This training is required for managers and highly recommended for all other employees. Please log into SSU online services, select “Skillport,” and click on “View My Plan” to access this training.

Additional Information

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