Mandatory Reporting for Mental Health & Medical Professionals
All mental health and medical professionals in Ohio are mandated reporters and are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect either to law enforcement or to Summit County Children Services (SCCS).
Summit County Children Services (SCCS) is the child welfare protection agency in Summit County mandated to assess reports of child abuse and neglect.
To make a confidential report of child abuse and neglect, call SCCS' 24-hour child abuse and neglect hotline at (330) 434-KIDS (5437). Your call will be answered by trained social work professionals who will ask you questions about the suspected child abuse and neglect.
IMPORTANT! If you suspect a child's safety or well-being is at risk or in danger, please call 911. You should never make a report of child abuse and neglect to SCCS online or through email … always call the 24-hour child abuse and neglect hotline.
Mandatory Reporting Issues Relevant for Medical Professionals
Below are some frequently asked questions specific medical professionals.
Does the physician-patient privilege preclude my reporting known or suspected child abuse or neglect to authorities?
No, if the patient is a child. Diagnostic consideration formulated during your examination of children who are known or suspected to be abused or neglected must be reported subject to the considerations set forth in Section 2151.421(A)(2).
If physical abuse and resulting fractures are suspected, may x-rays be performed?
Yes. The law permits radiological examinations of the child if medically indicated.
May photographs be taken of areas of trauma?
Yes. The law allows health care personnel to take photographs of visible areas of trauma on a child. This is desirable and such color photographs may have evidentiary value if a court proceeding ensues.
If I fear further abuse of the child and serious injury or death following my examination, what can be done to protect and take custody of the child?
Two things can be done. If immediate removal from the parent or guardian is necessary, the police must be called to exercise emergency protective custody provisions under the law. If time and the situation permits, SCCS should be contacted. We may request an emergency order from Summit County Juvenile Court. A medical professional could be called to testify about their examination/treatment of the child.
Mandatory Reporting Issues Relevant for Mental Health Professionals
Below are questions specific to Psychiatrists, Psychologists, social workers and other mental health practitioners.
Does the therapist-patient privilege preclude my reporting to the authorities?
Under Ohio law, the therapist-patient privilege does not apply to the reporting of suspected or known child abuse or neglect.
Won't reporting of child abuse or neglect cases harm to the therapeutic relationship with the family?
Perhaps. In order to mitigate potential damage to the therapeutic relationship, the family should be informed openly that reporting is mandatory and not discretionary.
Contact SCCS for questions about mandated reporter requirements.