Duty to Report Child Abuse and Neglect
An act relating to children; clarifying language describing the duty to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect.
- House Bill 122 (HB 122) amends section 32A-4-3(A) NMSA 1978 to clarify language regarding the duty to report child abuse and neglect. The amendment eliminates a list of professions with a legal duty to report child abuse, thereby extending the responsibility to report to “every person” who has information that is not privileged and who knows or has reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused or neglected. HB 122 also amends section 32A-4-3(E) to allow law enforcement agencies or the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to have access to any records pertaining to a child abuse or neglect case maintained by a person who makes a report. (Source: NMLegis.gov)
- The New Mexico Supreme Court concluded that New Mexico was one of sixteen states with reporting laws that identify specific professionals while simultaneously requiring every person to report and found no judicial opinions interpreting those statutes as imposing obligations only on the identified occupations. The historical purpose for including various professional groups was to focus the requirement on those who come into contact with children on a more frequent basis. Deletion of the specified professions could eliminate ambiguity as to those with a legal duty and may increase reporting.
- Viante New Mexico supports this bill because we believe it will help address New Mexico’s staggering violent crime rate by taking steps to protect some of our most vulnerable population.