Question:  My business employs minors, especially during the summer.  Do I need to be concerned about any of my employees being mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect?

Answer:  Potentially.  The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (“CANRA”) requires that certain individuals who work with children, known as “mandated reporters,” report to specified law enforcement or county social services departments whenever they, in their professional capacity or within the scope of their employment, have knowledge of or observed a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect.  Previously, there were about 49 different mandated reporters under the CANRA, including teachers, EMTs, and coaches. Assembly Bill (AB) 1963, effective January 1, 2021, expanded this list to include “human resource employees” of a business with 5 or more employees that employs minors, and, only for the purposes of reporting sexual abuse of children, any adult employee whose duties require direct contact with and supervision of minors in a business with 5 or more employees.

Under AB 1963, “human resources employees” are defined broadly as any employee designated by the employer to accept any complaints of misconduct (i.e., discrimination, harassment, retaliation, etc.) made under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.  For example, if the employer’s harassment prevention policy directs employees to report harassment to their supervisor, human resources, or any manager, then all of those individuals are now mandated reporters as of January 1, 2021.  Human resources employees are required to report all types of child abuse or neglect, while employees whose duties require direct contact with employees who are minors are only required to report sexual abuse.

Reporting Requirements

Under CANRA, if a mandated reporter knows or suspects that a child has been the victim of abuse or neglect, he or she must make an initial report by telephone to a designated agency such as a police or sheriff’s department, or the county welfare department, immediately, or as soon as is practicable, and provide a written follow-up report within 36 hours.  In Monterey County, the Department of Social Services is a designated agency.  Reports of abuse and neglect can be reported to either of its 24-hour hotlines: (831) 755-4661 or (800) 606-6618.  Visit SS8572B ( CHILD ABUSE SUMMARY REPORT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) FORM SS 8583 ( to obtain the Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) forms and instructions for submitting written reports.

Employer Training Requirements

Employers who employ minors are now required to provide training in child abuse and neglect identification and reporting to all mandated reporters.  This training requirement may be met by completing the general online training for mandated reporters offered by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services.  Information on this training may be found at

Employers should identify the employees within their business who are mandated reporters, notify these employees of their status, and begin coordinating training.  Employers must provide their mandated reporters with written notice that acknowledges their status as mandated reporters, their obligations under CANRA, and the confidentiality rights and obligations under CANRA.   The text of the new law can be found at Bill Text – AB-1963 Child abuse or neglect: mandated reporters. (