Each year, ACA’s Camp Crisis Hotline service receives numerous calls reflecting uncertainty regarding the legal obligation to report suspected abuse of a child. Most often, those who call the Hotline want help understanding what steps they should take after the child reveals the information. A question that often gets asked is: “Do we have to report this?” The answer is YES! It is in the best interest of the child for you to immediately connect with those who are trained to investigate and handle these types of situations — and it is required by law.
If you believe a child has been harmed physically, sexually, or emotionally (whether at home, outside of camp, or at camp), you should report concerns to the appropriate authorities. In every state, qualified experts are available who can listen to your concerns, examine the situation, and determine the best course of action as to whether intervention or other services and/or actions are necessary.
Visit www.childwelfare.gov/responding/reporting.cfm for a listing of in-state, toll-free, and local phone numbers to report suspected child abuse. An additional resource for information about reporting child abuse or neglect is the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline, 800-4-A-Child® (800-422-4453).
For more information on mandated reporting and child protection, see the following resources:
Previous CampLine Articles
- Camp Crisis Hotline Reports (2005–2010) 
- “Mandated Reporting: What Happens When You Make the Call,”  by Dana Andrews (Fall 2009)
- “Camp Mandated Reporting Requirements and Related Issues: An Update,”  by Charles R. Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp (Fall 2008)
- “The Camp Director’s Role as a Mandated Reporter”  (Fall 1996)
Additional ACA Resources
- e-Institute Course: “Mandated Reporting: Guidelines for Youth Program Providers,” by Mary Everheart
- Camp Mandatory Reporting and Related Issues, DVD, by Charles R. Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp
- The ACA Human Resource (HR) Standard HR-11 requires that staff training includes information on the recognition, prevention, and reporting of child abuse, child to child, as well as adult to adult, both outside of and during the camp setting.
- Child Health and Safety Issues — Prevention and Recognition of Child Abuse