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 the Child Welfare Information Gateway for a listing of state statutes related to abuse and neglect. 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 and Camping Magazine Articles
Camp Crisis Hotline Reports (Annualy, in Fall CampLine issue)
Additional ACA Resources
- ACA Onlne Course: “Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect,” 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
- Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse Toolkit