Mandated Reporter

Who is a Mandated Reporter?

Mandated reporters are persons who, as a result of their profession, are more likely to be aware of abuse or neglect of children, persons with disabilities, or elders. Being a mandated reporter means that by law  you must report any suspected abuse of a child, dependent adult or elder immediately to the county Adult Protective Services (APS) or Child Welfare Services (CWS).


Resources & Links

Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training/Information:

Mandated Reporter Flyer (English/Spanish)

Mandated Reporting of Financial Abuse (English/Spanish)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Abuse?

Abuse and neglect can take many forms and each of the types have its own set of signs and symptoms associated with it. Below is a breakdown of the different types of abuse that can happen to children, dependent adults & elders.

Financial Abuse – includes the misuse, mishandling or exploitation of property, possessions or assets of adults. Also includes using another’s assets without consent, under false pretense, or through coercion and/or manipulation.

Neglect – failure of a caregiver/guardian/parent to provide the necessities of life to another person for whom they are caring.

Self-Neglect – a behavioral condition in which an individual neglects to attend to their basic needs, such as personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, feeding or tending appropriately to any medical conditions they have.

Isolation – restricting visits from family and friends or preventing contact via telephone or mail correspondence.

Emotional Abuse – involves creating emotional pain, distress or anguish through the use of threats, intimidation or humiliation. This includes insults, yelling or threats of harm and/or isolation, or non-verbal actions such as throwing objects or glaring to project fear and/or intimidation.

Abandonment – involves desertion by anyone who assumed caregiving responsibilities for an individual.

Abduction – the act or instance of forcibly taking someone away against their will.

Physical Abuse – an intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person by way of bodily contact.

Sexual Abuse – forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another.

Do I have to witness the abuse or neglect to report it?

The standard for reporting suspected abuse and neglect is “reasonable cause to believe” which means that mandated reporters need only a “mere suspicion” that abuse or neglect was committed. Mandated reporters are immune from civil or criminal liability as a result of filing a report of abuse.

What are the consequences for not reporting?

A person who fails to make a required report is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine (California Penal Code Section 11166[c]).

How do I report suspected abuse of a child?

As a mandated reporter in San Luis Obispo County, if you suspect child abuse or neglect, YOU MUST:

  1. Immediately call Child Welfare Services (CWS) 24-Hour Hotline
    • 805-781-KIDS (5437) or 1-800-834-KIDS
  2. Complete and file a Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) form # SS8572, located at CA Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) Form 8572. See instructions for completing the SCAR form.  The Social Worker you speak with when calling the CWS hotline will inform you where to fax/email the SCAR form.
  3. Retain a legible copy of the SCAR Report
  4. YOU are responsible for making this report. DO NOT ALLOW your supervisor/principal to make the report for you or assume because another co-worker has some of the same information that they will make the report.
  5. Do not attempt to investigate, conduct interviews or interfere with the information you hold.
  6. Remember that you are to report SUSPECTED abuse – you are not required to have witnessed or have complete proof of the incident. You are obligated by law to report what you observe or what you are told that caused suspicion the child is being physically, sexually or emotionally abused or neglected. When in doubt, call CWS and get their input about the scope of your report.
How do I report suspected abuse of a dependent adult or elder?

As a mandated reporter in San Luis Obispo County, if you suspect dependent adult/elder abuse or neglect, YOU MUST:

  1. Call hotline as soon as abuse is suspected or known, within 24 hours
    • Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
      •  (800) 834-3002 or (805) 781-1790
    • After Business Hours
      • (844) 729-8011
  2. Fax SOC 341 (Eng/Sp) – Report of Suspected Dependent Adult & Elder Abuse
    • (805) 788-2034
  3. After you make a report, APS will:
    • Cross report to law enforcement, if applicable
    • Ask a series of questions to determine if an emergency response is required. If necessary, an Emergency Response Social Worker will be dispatched to make a home visit to investigate the report.
    • Make an assessment of victim’s strengths, weaknesses & protective needs
    • Link victims to community services

Unlike abuse/neglect reports made involving children, victims of dependent adult/elder abuse may refuse services or withdraw consent for services at any time. APS will act only with consent for services unless a violation of a penal code is believed to have occurred.

Contact Social Services

Child and Adult Hotline Information:

  • If you suspect there is an emergency requiring immediate intervention, call 911
  • To report suspected child abuse or neglect call the 24 hour Child Abuse Hotline at (805) 781-KIDS (5437) or toll free 1-800-834-KIDS (5437)
  • To report suspected elder abuse or neglect call the Adult Services Hotline at (805) 781-1790 during regular business hours, or after business hours call (844) 729-8011