Who is permitted to report child abuse or neglect?

Anyone who knows, has reason to believe, or suspects that a child is being, or has been, neglected or physically or sexually abused. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 3.

Who is required to report child abuse or neglect?

An individual who knows or has reason to believe a child is being or has within the past three years been neglected or abused, and who is one of the following:

  1. a member of the clergy who receives the information while engaged in ministerial duties, excluding information exempt under the confessional privilege
  2. a professional or the professional’s delegate who is engaged in
    • the healing arts
    • social services, including employee assistance counseling, guardian ad litem, and parenting time expeditor
    • hospital administration
    • psychological or psychiatric treatment
    • child care
    • education
    • law enforcement
    • correctional supervision, probation, and correctional services

Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 3.
A parent, guardian, or caretaker who knows or reasonably should know a child’s health is in serious danger must report medical neglect. These individuals are subject to criminal penalties for failing to report if the child suffers substantial or great bodily harm or dies for lack of medical care. The criminal law that permits reliance on spiritual means or prayer for health care does not eliminate this reporting duty. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 6.

What are an employer’s obligations to an employee who reports neglect or abuse?

The employer may not retaliate against an employee who is required to report and does so in good faith. Examples of presumed retaliation are provided in the act. The employee may recover actual damages and an additional penalty up to $10,000. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 4a.

What is the penalty for failing to make a required report?

Failing to make a required report is a misdemeanor exclusively prosecuted by the county attorney rather than the city attorney, who usually prosecutes misdemeanors. Minn. Stat. §§ 626.556, subd. 6; 388.051, subd. 2, para. (c).

What are the consequences of making a false report?

An individual who makes a false report in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 4. An individual who knowingly or recklessly makes a false report is liable in a civil suit for actual and punitive damages, costs, and reasonable attorney fees. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 5.

This and any related posts have been adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Overview of the Maltreatment of Minors Act, written by legislative analyst Lynn Aves.

This is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota’s Maltreatment of Minors Act.