Smallwood Acts to Increase Reporting in Child Abuse or Neglect

DENVER--Today, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved Senator Jim Smallwood's (R-Parker) effort to increase reporting in cases of child abuse or neglect.
House Bill 17-1185 adds officials and employees of county departments of health, human, and social services to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse.
Under current law, mandatory reporters--including but not limited to health care professionals, educators, members of the clergy, firefighters, peace officers, and victim's advocates--are required to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect. A mandatory reporter who willfully fails to report any such abuse or neglect may be found guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. 
Between Jan. 2015 and Dec. 2016, more than 19,000 reports of child abuse and neglect were received by Colorado state officials, with the Department of Human Services assessing the conditions of over 10,000 children. 
"Our children are our future, and our most precious resource," said Smallwood. "This is a simple, commonsense fix that has the potential to bring more instances of this traumatic abuse to light and help these kids out of the shadows. Officials who are legally mandated to report instances of abuse or neglect, especially those is health and social services, are trained to recognize the signs and can make a world of difference for these children with one seemingly small act." 
House Bill 1185 now continues on to a vote of the Committee of the Whole.  


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