March 4, 2024

What is a Mandated Reporter?

Originally in Arkansas, a mandated reporter is anyone who works with children; whether in schools, churches, dentist’s offices, or daycares. Now, as of August 1, 2023,  anyone over the age of 18 who witnesses child abuse must report it. The 1974 Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act mandates that each state have provisions for requiring certain individuals to report known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect. Mandated reporters have a critical responsibility to protect vulnerable children and adults by lawfully reporting any suspicions and/or prevent maltreatment cases from being overlooked. While Arkansas does not have required training, there are several training programs available online.

What is a Mandated Reporter?

Mandated reporters receive specialized training to identify signs of abuse, as well as exploitation. They are legally obligated to report any reasonable suspicions or concerns about potential abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. For children in Arkansas, that is Department of Family and Child Services (DCFS) and for those over eighteen, Adult Protective Services. This legal duty requires them to file a report even if they have limited information. As Frederick Douglass once said, “it is easier to build up a child than repair an adult.” 


Their Role

The role of a mandated reporter acts as a safety net to ensure that possible cases of abuse are not ignored. By upholding their legal obligations, mandated reporters contribute to creating a safer environment for children. There are also legal ramifications if they do not file a report. Knowingly falsifying or failing to notify the Child Abuse Hotline (1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD (1-844-728-3224)), means facing a litany of legal consequences. If the mandated reporter has reason to believe that abuse has occurred, they must report it. They cannot, legally, convey the information to their supervisor or co-worker; nor can they assume another mandated reporter will file. They must file. 

While not every one is a mandated reporter, everyone who suspects child maltreatment or abuse should report it. Those not considered mandated reporters are called permissive reporters. Neither party has the burden of providing proof of abuse or neglect; just a good faith report that abuse has occurred.


Mandated reporters in Arkansas have an important job: to protect children and vulnerable people from harm. This helps ensure that no one is overlooked, and every child’s safety is a top priority. Mandated reporters play a crucial role in creating a safer environment for those who might be in danger. Mandated reporters are a crucial player in the fight to prevent abuse, whether that is in a school, daycare, or doctor’s office. 

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Josh Gillispie