Youth Services Law

Mandated Reporter Lawsuits

Court summonsAlthough reporting suspected child abuse is a legal and moral duty, it is not without risk.  In Kansas, a parent has sued a Catholic school for reporting suspicions that a child was being abused.  The suit claims that the school made the report in retaliation for the mother's complaints that her daughter was being bullied at school.  

There is no way to know whether the allegations are accurate, but they are similar to this case from Connecticut, where parents sued a school for what they claimed was leading questioning, leading to a report to child protection authorities.  The state investigators determined that the report was unfounded, but the parents alleged various damages from the investigation process.  The Connecticut court dismissed most of the claims, but allowed a single claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress to proceed. 

I have not been able to determine how the Connecticut case ended, but this is one situation where the process is the punishment.  Given the state-imposed and moral obligations to report suspected abuse, there is no way to completely avoid these sort of lawsuits.  The only protection I have found is to have very good liability insurance to cover the costs of defending a decision to report.

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