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.