New Mandated Reporter Law for Georgia

Georgia has a new mandated reporter law, effective July 1, 2012. The amended statute, OCGA § 19-7-5, will require a report by any employees or volunteers of an organization that “provides care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter to children.”  The law also clarifies that “school” means any public or private school, pre-K through technical or college level.

The statute keeps the current procedure allowing an employee or volunteer to report to a supervisor, who then must report the suspected abuse.  The trigger remains “reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused.”  The report must be made to a state child welfare agency, or to “appropriate police authority” or district attorney.

The statue also retains the current definitions of physical and sexual abuse, which do not encompass child-on-child abuse.  Thus, the statute does not require a report to child welfare or law enforcement of bullying or sexual acting out by children.  Licensing guidelines, however, may require a report, so be familiar with those requirements for your organization.

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About Debbie Ausburn

Debbie Ausburn has worked with youth-serving organizations for almost 30 years, as a foster parent social worker with abused children, criminal prosecutor of sex crimes, and private practice attorney defending youth-serving organizations. She has successfully defended claims ranging from minor physical injuries to claims of sexual abuse of children in the organization's care. Her litigation experience ranges from dozens of jury trials to two (2) successful U.S. Supreme Court cases. She is a regular speaker at professional conferences for day care centers, camps, and mental health professionals.
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