Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Mandated Reporter

All personnel of institutions of higher education are considered mandated reporters. According to DCFS, “mandated reporters are required to report suspected child maltreatment immediately when they have “reasonable cause to believe” that a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may have been an abused or neglected child.”  

All employees are required to sign an acknowledgement of their mandated reporter status (pdf) during their onboarding process.

All states, including Illinois, have laws that require people who witness or know about child abuse or neglect to report it to the authorities. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has amended the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) to expressly makes all “personnel of institutions of higher education” mandated reporters. As a result, all Dominican University faculty, staff, student employees, and other personnel must immediately make a report to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) if they have reason to believe that a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be abused or neglected.

Abuse occurs when a parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare:

  • Inflicts, causes to be inflicted, allows to be inflicted, or creates a substantial risk of, physical injury by other than accidental means, which causes or would be likely to cause death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss or impairment of any body function;
  • Commits or allows to be committed a sex offense against such child;
  • Commits or allows to be committed an act of torture upon such child;
  • Inflicts excessive corporal punishment; or
  • Causes illegal controlled substances to be sold, transferred or given to a child under age 18.

Neglect occurs when a parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare fails to provide the child with necessary nourishment, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, or adequate supervision.

child is defined as any person under 18 years of age.
 
It is essential that all University personnel understand their obligations as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, which are briefly summarized below.

ANCRA requires that all Dominican personnel who have reason to suspect abuse or neglect of any person under the age of 18 must immediately make a report to DCFS by telephone to the DCFS hotline (1-800-25-ABUSE) or in person, followed by a written report within 48 hours. This duty to report is absolute, and it rests with the individual identifying the suspected abuse or neglect.
 
Mandated reporters are required to report both suspected physical abuse and sexual abuse, which occurs when any person responsible for the child’s welfare sexually exploits or molests the child, engages in sexual penetration with the child, or transfers a sexually transmitted disease to the child. This definition would therefore include sex with a child by a person over the age of 18 if that person over the age of 18 is responsible for the child’s welfare or comes to know the child through an official capacity or position of trust, including health care professionals, educational personnel, recreational supervisors, members of the clergy, and volunteers or support personnel.

The Act also does not distinguish between current or past abuse. Thus, if a University employee suspects that a child was abused in the past, he or she must report that suspicion.

DCFS recommends that, if a mandated reporter is in doubt about whether to report, the reporter should report the suspected abuse. DCFS hotline staff members are trained on what constitutes grounds for an investigation and can assess a mandated reporter’s concerns to determine if a report should be taken and referred for investigation.

Willful failure to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect is a misdemeanor (first violation) or a class 4 felony (second or subsequent violation). In addition, an employee who fails to make a report may face disciplinary action by the university. State law protects the identity of all mandated reporters, who are provided with immunity from legal liability as a result of reports made in good faith.

If you see, hear about, or know about possible child abuse or neglect in connection with your duties as a Dominican employee, you must take the following three steps:

  1. Immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect to DCFS by calling 1(800) 25ABUSE (1(800) 252-2873).
  2. Submit a follow-up written report to DCFS within 48 hours of the verbal report.
  3. Notify Human Resources of the report.

In order to increase your understanding of the mandated reporting requirements and acknowledge your mandated reporter status, please complete the online training listed below and return the Certification and Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status form to Human Resources by November 1, 2014.           

Complete online training for mandated reporters. Click "Register for an account" to begin the training process. Please note: in order to register, and for verification purposes, you will need your employee ID number. Your employee ID number is the last three to six digits of the number located on your Dominican University ID card. If you do not have an ID card, and do not know your ID number, login to MyDU and click on Personal Info, then Biographical Info.

Other Helpful Links

Illinois DCFS Mandated Reporter Manual Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (pdf)

All employees are required to complete the online training and sign an Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status form (pdf), which can be downloaded from the link or obtained from the Office of Human Resources. Employees hired after November 1, 2014, must complete the training and Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status form within 30 days of beginning employment.

For further information on the requirements of ANCRA and how they apply to the University, please contact Amanda Zigterman in Human Resources at (708) 524-6784 or azigterman@dom.edu.