Tennessee law mandates that ALL persons must report suspected child abuse and neglect. This includes professionals, family members, friends and community members.
In Tennessee, if you have “reasonable cause to believe” a child is being abused or neglected you must report that suspicion to the state Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement immediately. Failure to report is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to three months imprisonment, a fine of up to $50 or both.
Do not attempt to conduct your own investigation. Report your suspicions to the proper authorities.
As a mandated reporter you are protected by the state in terms of liability and confidentiality. Reporters who “act in good faith” are immune from any civil or criminal charges which may result.
If you are unsure whether or not you have reasonable cause, make the call. Borderline cases are of great concern.
To report child abuse or Neglect in Tennessee call:
DEAPRTMENT OF CHILDREN”S SERVICES ABUSE HOTLINE