Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
The University of Georgia is committed to the safety and well-being of children and the prompt reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect. These instructions outline reporting procedures for University employees and volunteers in accordance with Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. §19-7-5) and University policies for the protection of minors.
All University employees and volunteers acting in the scope of their employment who have reasonable cause to believe that child abuse has occurred shall immediately (but in no case later than 24 hours) make a report or confirm that a report has been made to ALL of the following:
- The UGA Police Department (UGAPD) at 706-542-2200 or 911 (emergency);
- Their supervisor, program director, or other responsible University official; AND
- The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) at 1-855-GACHILD.
If you have reasonable cause to believe child abuse has occurred, DO NOT attempt to investigate the matter further or gather additional information before reporting.
- Child/Minor: Any person under the age of 18.
- Child Abuse: Non-accidental physical injury, neglect, exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation.
Upon receipt of a report, the UGAPD will investigate any suspected child abuse on campus or involving a University employee or volunteer and will follow up with DFCS, as necessary. University supervisors, program directors, and officials will take immediate action in order to protect the minor, to encourage employee or volunteer compliance with the directives herein, and to work with the UGAPD during any investigation that results from the report.
Failure to Report
Failure of Mandatory Reporters, as defined by O.C.G.A. §19-7-5, to report suspected child abuse is a violation of state law and may subject the individual to criminal penalties.
Failure of University employees or volunteers to comply with the directives herein may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment or volunteer service.
The University prohibits any employee, student, or volunteer from retaliating or taking any adverse action against another employee, student, or volunteer for reporting a reasonable suspicion of sexual or physical abuse or neglect of a minor. If an individual believes he or she is being retaliated against, the individual should contact his or her supervisor or Human Resources.
The State of Georgia grants immunity from any civil or criminal liability for the making of a report, in good faith, of suspected abuse of a minor.
Professional License Requirements
Professional licensing associations may require additional reporting requirements for certain professions (e.g., teachers, social workers, child care providers). University employees, volunteers, and students holding such designations are encouraged to consult their professional licensing associations for more information.
University Students employed by or volunteering on behalf of the University who have reasonable cause to believe that child abuse has occurred shall follow the Reporting Requirements listed above. University Students at a field placement, on-site course, research project, outreach project, or other event supervised by an agency with which the University cooperates (e.g., schools, community agencies, medical facilities, internship sites) who have reasonable cause to believe that child abuse has occurred must notify the organization's lead administrator or other designated official (e.g., school principal, counselor, facility director) immediately, and subsequently notify their University supervisor or program director, who is subject to the reporting requirements listed above.
University Students operating under the supervision and professional license of a University supervisor or program director (e.g. psychologist, speech language pathologist, social worker) who have reasonable cause to believe that child abuse has occurred must notify their supervisor immediately, and subsequently, the student and the University supervisor or program director will follow the reporting requirements listed above.
Additional Guidance for Program Directors on the Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
The University of Georgia is committed to the safety and well-being of children and the prompt reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect in alignment with Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. §19-7-5) and University policies for the protection of minors. The full text of the University's guidance (opens new window).
Please note that University reporting requirements also apply to experiential learning that takes place at schools, clinics, or organizations in the community; to on-campus clinics, camps, or classes; and to other situations such as research projects and community screenings in which a University employee, student, or volunteer comes into contact with minors. The actions to be taken are determined by the nature of the placement site.
Hereafter, these settings are collectively referred to as "placements" or "placement sites, and University employees, students, and volunteers are referred to as "UGA members."
For each placement site for which you have a responsibility as a program director you should:
Ensure that all UGA members at the site understand their reporting requirements, including but not limited to when, how, and to whom they should report. Ensure that all UGA members have been appropriately trained in recognizing and reporting child abuse before being placed at the site. Training is available online (opens new window)
Click on "Find A Course" in the navigation.
Select "Georgia" for the state.
Enter "Mandated Reporters" in the search box or leave the box blank.
Click on the "Search" button.
Choose the Mandated Reporters: Critical Links in Protecting Children in Georgia training under "Health and Safety."
Ensure that appropriate information relevant to the duty to report suspected child abuse is contained in a course syllabus, program handbook, clinic assignment paperwork, or other written or electronic documentation provided to all UGA members at a placement site. This information should include a link to the University's "Mandatory Reporting for Child Abuse" guidance, as well as phone numbers for DFCS (1-855-GACHILD, 1-855-422-4453) and the UGA Police (706-542-2200).
How to determine who is responsible for making reports to DFCS:
If the placement site is external to the University (e.g., school, clinic, camp, or other organization in the community):
When the placement is a legally mandated reporter, ensure that UGA members know who the designated reporter is and that it is the responsibility of UGA members, if they become aware of a potential child abuse situation, to report immediately to the organization's lead administrator or other designated official (e.g., school principal, counselor, facility director), and subsequently notify their University supervisor or program director, who is subject to the University's reporting requirements.
When the placement is not a legally mandated reporter (such as a community center or public park), the UGA member should immediately call UGA Police or call 911 to report the suspected abuse. After calling the police, the UGA member should then report to DFCS and their UGA supervisor as soon as possible but always within 24 hours.
If the placement is with the University, then University reporting requirements should be followed. If the UGA member is performing duties under the direct supervision of a licensed professional (e.g., counselor, school psychologist, speech pathologist), the UGA member should immediately report the suspected abuse to the licensed professional, and then the UGA member and the licensed professional will follow professional and University protocols to notify DFCS and UGA Police.
In any situation where a report cannot be made to a program director, the report should be made to the College of Education's associate dean, Stacey Neuharth-Pritchett.