The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 33: Human Services

Chapter 49: CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

Sub-Chapter 02: Reporting Abuse Of Children

33 V.S.A. § 4913. Reporting child abuse and neglect; remedial action



§ 4913. Reporting child abuse and neglect; remedial action

(a) Any physician, surgeon, osteopath, chiropractor, or physician assistant licensed, certified, or registered under the provisions of Title 26, any resident physician, intern, or any hospital administrator in any hospital in this state, whether or not so registered, and any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, emergency medical personnel as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 2651(6), dentist, psychologist, pharmacist, any other health care provider, child care worker, school superintendent, headmaster of an approved or recognized independent school as defined in 16 V.S.A. § 11, school teacher, student teacher, school librarian, school principal, school guidance counselor, and any other individual who is employed by a school district or an approved or recognized independent school, or who is contracted and paid by a school district or an approved or recognized independent school to provide student services, mental health professional, social worker, probation officer, any employee, contractor, and grantee of the Agency of Human Services who have contact with clients, police officer, camp owner, camp administrator, camp counselor, or member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title within 24 hours. As used in this subsection, "camp" includes any residential or nonresidential recreational program.

(b) The Commissioner shall inform the person who made the report under subsection (a) of this section:

(1) whether the report was accepted as a valid allegation of abuse or neglect;

(2) whether an assessment was conducted and, if so, whether a need for services was found; and

(3) whether an investigation was conducted and, if so, whether it resulted in a substantiation.

(c) Any other concerned person not listed in subsection (a) of this section who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected may report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title.

(d)(1) Any person other than a person suspected of child abuse, who in good faith makes a report to the Department shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of making a report.

(2) An employer or supervisor shall not discharge; demote; transfer; reduce pay, benefits, or work privileges; prepare a negative work performance evaluation; or take any other action detrimental to any employee because that employee filed a good faith report in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter. Any person making a report under this subchapter shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of the reporting party by reason of his or her making a report.

(e) The name of and any identifying information about either the person making the report or any person mentioned in the report shall be confidential unless:

(1) the person making the report specifically allows disclosure;

(2) a Human Services Board proceeding or a judicial proceeding results therefrom;

(3) a court, after a hearing, finds probable cause to believe that the report was not made in good faith and orders the Department to make the name of the reporter available; or

(4) a review has been requested pursuant to section 4916a of this title, and the Department has determined that identifying information can be provided without compromising the safety of the reporter or the persons mentioned in the report.

(f)(1) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(2) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section with the intent to conceal abuse or neglect of a child shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(3) This section shall not be construed to prohibit a prosecution under any other provision of law.

(g) Except as provided in subsection (h) of this section, a person may not refuse to make a report required by this section on the grounds that making the report would violate a privilege or disclose a confidential communication.

(h) A member of the clergy shall not be required to make a report under this section if the report would be based upon information received in a communication which is:

(1) made to a member of the clergy acting in his or her capacity as spiritual advisor;

(2) intended by the parties to be confidential at the time the communication is made;

(3) intended by the communicant to be an act of contrition or a matter of conscience; and

(4) required to be confidential by religious law, doctrine, or tenet.

(i) When a member of the clergy receives information about abuse or neglect of a child in a manner other than as described in subsection (h) of this section, he or she is required to report on the basis of that information even though he or she may have also received a report of abuse or neglect about the same person or incident in the manner described in subsection (h) of this section. (Added 1981, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 25, 1982; amended 1983, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1985, No. 208 (Adj. Sess.), § 19, eff. June 30, 1986; 1989, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1993, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 43, § 3, eff. May 27, 2003; 2005, No. 101 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 77, § 1, eff. June 7, 2007; 2007, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 2009; 2007, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2009, No. 1, § 45; 2011, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. May 16, 2012; 2011, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)