Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

December/January 2013Vol. 13, No. 11Examining Universal Mandatory Reporting

Many high-profile cases of child abuse in which timely reports were not made have prompted several States to consider whether all adults should be designated as mandatory reporters. A new policy brief from the Child Welfare State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC), An Analysis of State Laws Regarding Mandated Reporting of Child Maltreatment, examines the experiences of States with universal mandatory reporting laws.

In the report, author Rebecca McElroy, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit organization ChildFocus, looks at reporting data from 2010 and compares rates of reporting between States that require all persons to report and those States that do not. The results show that the rates of reporting were no higher but that the rates of substantiation were higher in States with universal reporting.

The report also presents the results of interviews conducted by SPARC staff with administrators of eight States with universal reporting laws. In general, these administrators felt that universal reporting is good policy. Some areas for policy improvements, including better public awareness and training on reporting requirements, also were discussed.

The report is available on the FirstFocus website: