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Brief History

In 1963, responding to the need for early identification and reporting of child abuse, California spearheaded the effort to protect children by passing the first mandated reporting law in the nation.  This statute put the onus solely on doctors to report cases of suspected child abuse.

In 1975, a permissive reporting law was enacted, which included probation officers as possible, but not mandated reporters, if child abuse was suspected.

In 1976, the Legislature amended the statute to give immunity from civil or criminal liability to those mandated reporters who complied with the law.

In 1978, the Department of Justice approximated the number of child abuse cases actually reported at about ten percent.

In 1980, in response to this under-reporting and with the desire to comply with federal guidelines, the California Legislature repealed sections of existing law and replaced it with the Child Abuse Reporting Law. The new law included the crucial component of “knowledge” in the statute, thus specified individuals no longer needed to observe the abuse, but only needed to have information about the offense.

The law was rewritten several times in the 1980s to address certain deficiencies and in 1987 the Legislature amended the law once again and renamed it the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act.

One Response to “Brief History”

  1. judy weintraub says:

    i would like to find out more detail about the process of the beginning of mandated child abuse reporting in California. The above history says that California passed the first mandated reporting law in the US in 1963. I would like to find out more detail about this, including when in 1963 the law was passed, what month. Are there some source references i can get so that i can study this in more depth?

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