You are not required by law to tell the family that you have made a report to the Hotline. In fact, CPS is mandated by law to protect your confidentiality after you make a report. Here is an example of what a CPS staff member will say when he/she contacts the family:
Mandated reporters can choose to tell the family that they have called the Hotline and the reasons for their decision. This disclosure may help maintain a relationship between the mandated reporter and the child‘s family, especially when there is on-going contact. By disclosing, you can maintain credibility and the trust of the family. If you want to tell the family that you made a report, you should be aware of CPS recommendations and consult with your supervisor. The following are suggestions of how to begin the disclosure to the family:
- I am a mandated reporter under NYS Law. This Law is set up to help families, not punish them. My call to the Hotline will help you get the services your family needs.
- I know you care about your family and do not want to have any problems with your child. You are trying really hard, and you could use some support. I am required by Law to call CPS in this situation. We can use the CPS person as a resource, they want to help you get the services you need.
CPS recommendations – CPS advises against telling the family IF:
- The report involves sexual abuse. The family’s knowledge of the report could impair the CPS investigation by limiting CPS’s ability to gather information from the child and/or family members.
- The family’s knowledge of the report would result in immediate danger of further abuse/neglect.
Your supervisor may have additional concerns about disclosure:
- Your agency may have a specific policy that includes disclosure to the family as part of an ongoing helping relationship.
- Your agency may prohibit disclosure to the family.
- You may need to discuss disclosure steps with a person who has experience in this area.