“The pros and cons of ‘mandated reporting.'”

Advocates are pushing for laws much expanding the ranks of private actors required by law to inform to authorities on suspicions about child abuse (“mandatory reporters”). Naomi S. Riley quotes some of my misgivings: “As Walter Olson of the Cato Institute notes, increasing the number of mandated reporters could ‘incentivize’ people ‘to resolve uncertain, gray areas in favor of reporting.’ It will multiply “investigations based on hunches or ambiguous evidence which can harm the innocent, traumatize families, result in CPS [child protective services] raids, and stimulate false allegations,’ he says.” [Weekly Standard]

5 Comments

  • Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease. And one other thing–parents having to live with nagging anxiety about the possibility that their lives, and more importantly, the lives of their children being ruined due to a false report.

  • Because there aren’t enough traumatized families already caused by CPS being called in for 8 year olds walking the dog alone.

  • ““investigations based on hunches or ambiguous evidence which can harm the innocent, traumatize families, result in CPS [child protective services] raids, and stimulate false allegations,’”

    Unfortunately it is not entirely unclear that this is not the primary intent. East German Stasi had this down cold.

  • This is a good tool to terrorize an ex with. But no right-thinking person would ever get divorced, so no harm no foul, right?

  • About fifteen years ago, my Sister took the classes to be a substitute teacher for her children’s school district. One Saturday my Nephews were playing with their friend. There was a big tree in the yard that the boys were told not to climb. Well my Nephew’s friend climbed it and fell out of it. My Sister called the boy’s parents and he was taken to the hospital. Fortunately all he ended up with was a bruised hip.

    A few days later my Sister was teaching the boy’s class when she was told to take them down to the Nurse’s Office for a Scoliosis check. The girls went one way and the boys the other. They had to strip down to their underwear for the check. The Nurse saw the bruise on the boy’s hip and asked what happened? He said that he fell. The Nurse calls my Sister in to the room to show her the bruise. The Nurse told my Sister that the boy said that he fell and my Sister said that was correct that he was with her sons when he fell and that she called the parents. The Nurse didn’t believe her and filed a report with Children’s Services. The parents were removed from their place of work by Sheriffs Deputy’s in handcuffs. Their son was placed in foster care for six weeks until a Judge decided that he had fallen. My Sister was told that she was not allowed to get involved because of district policy. She was the only adult witness and told them what they could do with their policy.

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