Introduction

In California, certain individuals are required by law to report known or suspected child abuse. These mandated reporters are mostly people whose jobs bring them into contact with children. They are listed in the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) which is part of the California Penal Code.

As a child care provider, your regular contact with children gives you the chance to observe changes in appearance and behavior that may be signs of child abuse or neglect. Children in your care include infants who cannot tell about what is happening to them. As a child care provider you are able to pay attention to children’s progress and development, noticing their strengths, needs and interests. As a result, your care-giving duties give you unique opportunities to notice behavioral changes that may be evidence of abuse. You may be the only person outside of the family with whom the child has significant contact, and therefore the only person who is in a position to help the child.

You may be the trusted adult to whom a child makes an initial disclosure of abuse. It is critical that all child care professionals know what to look for and what to do when child maltreatment is suspected.

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