Letters to Mandated Reporters

With mandated reporting under the spotlight, it is critical to lift up the voices of young people with experience in the child welfare system. Their opinions, stories, and experiences are a critical part of understanding how such policies affect children and their families.

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Key Facts

Mandated reporting laws became the focus of child welfare policy in the 1960s. These laws have since obligated certain professionals—teachers, medical professionals, and law enforcement—to report and surveil families for any suspicion of abuse or neglect. As a result, we have a system overburdened by millions of unsubstantiated reports that needlessly bring families, particularly families of color and those living in poverty, under the scrutiny of Child Protective Services instead of directly providing necessary services or supports.

From the outset, there was no evidence that mandatory reporting would reduce or prevent child abuse, yet this is the narrative that’s been widely shared. Today, people are telling their own stories. Their stories demonstrate that mandatory reporting causes harm and fails to address the root causes of why a family might enter the child welfare system: a lack of resources and support. Nor does reporting in and of itself provide access to resources that might help a family stay together.

Children’s Rights launched this campaign to raise up the stories of those who have experienced the harm caused by mandated reporting firsthand.

The stories are the evidence. It’s time our policymakers recognize the detrimental effects mandated reporting laws have on families. They must listen to the voices of young people who experience it and take action to eradicate harmful, discriminatory laws.

Get Involved

Do you have lived experience in the child welfare system? Want to share your reflections on the role of mandated reporters? Let’s provide the evidence for change to lawmakers.