Mandated Reporting

Father and child looking at telephone

Noticing child abuse or neglect isn't always easy. Calling is.

Some professionals, including child care providers, are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect. If you feel that an individual has disclosed information to you that may be considered an issue of abuse or neglect, you have a moral and legal duty to report this. All reports made are confidential, including the name of the party who reports the alleged abuse or neglect. Colorado law protects people from liability if they make a report in good faith.

To file a report of abuse or neglect, call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437). If you feel that someone is in immediate danger, please call 911.

To read more about mandatory reporters, visit the Colorado 4 Kids Website.

Mandated Reporter Training

Mandated Reporter TrainingAll child care providers, whether licensed or unlicensed, are required to complete the online Mandated Reporter Training through the Colorado Department of Human Services. The training is designed to be flexible and how long it will take depends on your learning style. For planning purposes, expect to spend about two hours to complete this training.

If you're a first-time user, create a sign-in so you can save and come back to the training if necessary. Child care providers will need to use the "professional in another field" option. Once you have completed the training, you will receive a digital certificate; please keep a copy for your records. IMPORTANT: If you work for a center, give a copy to your employer.

Access this training through the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS). You will need to register on this site to take the training so as to maintain your completion certificate.

If you're using a screen reader, take this course directly from the Colorado Child Welfare Training Academy. When you register, select "Yes" to the question, "Using a screen reader?"

Who Are Mandated Reporters?

Persons Required to Report (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304) 

Persons required to report include:

  • Physicians, surgeons or physicians in training
  • Child health associates
  • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Dentists
  • Osteopaths
  • Optometrists
  • Chiropractors
  • Chiropodists or podiatrists
  • Registered nurses or licensed practical nurses
  • Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, care or treatment of patients
  • Dental hygienists
  • Physical therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Public or private school officials or employees
  • Social workers
  • Christian Science practitioners
  • Mental health professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Professional counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Veterinarians
  • Peace officers
  • Firefighters
  • Victim's advocates
  • Commercial film and photographic print processors
  • Counselors
  • Psychotherapists
  • Clergy members, including priests, rabbis, duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers of a church, members of religious orders, or recognized leaders of any religious bodies
  • Workers in the State Department of Human Services
  • Juvenile parole and probation officers
  • Child and family investigators
  • Officers and agents of the State Bureau of Animal Protection and animal control officers

Reporting by Other Persons (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304)

Any other person may report known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

Standards for Making a Report (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304) 

A report is required when:

  • A mandated reporter has reasonable cause to know or suspect child abuse or neglect.
  • A reporter has observed a child being subjected to circumstances or conditions that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.
  • Commercial film and photographic print processors have knowledge of or observe any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide depicting a child engaged in an act of sexual conduct.

Privileged Communications (Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-3-304; 19-3-311) 

  • The clergy-penitent privilege is permitted.
  • The physician-patient, psychologist-client, and husband-wife privileges are not allowed as grounds for failing to report.

Inclusion of Reporter's Name in Report (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-307)

The report shall include the name, address, and occupation of the person making the report.

Disclosure of Reporter Identity (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-1-307)

The identity of the reporter shall be protected.

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Definitions (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-1-103)

Physical Abuse:

Abuse or child abuse or neglect means an act or omission in one of the following categories that threatens the health or welfare of a child:

  • Any case in which a child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling or death and either: 
    • Such condition or death is not justifiably explained.
    • The history given concerning such condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death.
    • The circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an accidental occurrence.
  • Any case in which, in the presence of a child, on the premises where a child is found, or where a child resides, a controlled substance is manufactured. 
  • Any case in which a child tests positive at birth for either a schedule-I or schedule-II controlled substance, unless the child tests positive for a schedule-II controlled substance as a result of the mother's lawful intake of such substance as prescribed.


Child abuse or neglect includes any case in which a child is a child in need of services because the child's parent has failed to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision that a prudent parent would take.

A child is neglected or dependent if:

  • A parent, guardian or legal custodian has subjected the child to mistreatment or abuse or has allowed another to mistreat or abuse the child without taking lawful means to stop such mistreatment or abuse and prevent it from recurring.
  • The child lacks proper parental care through the actions or omissions of the parent, guardian or legal custodian.
  • The child's environment is injurious to his or her welfare.
  • A parent, guardian or legal custodian fails or refuses to provide the child with proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical care or any other necessary care.
  • The child is homeless, without proper care or not domiciled with his or her parent, guardian or legal custodian through no fault of such parent, guardian or legal custodian.
  • The child has run away from home or is otherwise beyond the control of his or her parent, guardian or legal custodian.
  • The child tests positive at birth for either a schedule-I or schedule-II controlled substance, unless the child tests positive for a schedule-II controlled substance as a result of the mother's lawful intake of such substance as prescribed.

Sexual Abuse:

Abuse or child abuse or neglect means any case in which a child is subjected to sexual assault or molestation, sexual exploitation or prostitution.

Sexual conduct means any of the following:

  • Sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals.
  • Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object.
  • Masturbation.
  • Sexual sadomasochistic abuse.

Emotional Abuse:

Abuse or child abuse or neglect means any case in which a child is subjected to emotional abuse. Emotional abuse means an identifiable and substantial impairment or a substantial risk of impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development.

Abandonment (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-102)

A child is neglected or dependent if a parent, guardian or legal custodian has abandoned the child.

Standards for Reporting (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-1-103)

A report is required when a responsible person's acts or omissions threaten the child's health or welfare.

Persons Responsible for the Child (Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-1-103)

Responsible person means a child's parent, legal guardian, custodian or any other person responsible for the child's health and welfare.

Spousal equivalent means a person who is in a family-type living arrangement with a parent and who would be a stepparent if married to that parent.

Exceptions (Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-1-103; 19-3-103)

Those investigating cases of child abuse shall take into account child-rearing practices of the culture in which the child participates, including the work-related practices of agricultural communities.

The reasonable exercise of parental discipline is not considered abuse.

No child who, in lieu of medical treatment, is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with a recognized method of religious healing shall, for that reason only, be considered neglected. The religious rights of the parent shall not limit the access of a child to medical care in a life-threatening situation.