What Mandatory Reporters Really Want: Foster Care or Rehabilitative Services

The idea of mandatory reporting is one we’ve discussed here on our CPS defense blog many times in the past. We’ve talked about what it is, who they are, and what the law has to say about it. We’ve even discussed whether or not people should be forced by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect, or simply expected to do what they believe is right without fear of repercussions. But what we’ve never shared is information about what mandatory reporters themselves actually want when they call CPS about a child’s family. 

A young woman looking worried and making a phone call.

Obviously, they expect that their report will lead to an investigation by a CPS worker. And equally obvious, is the fact that they hope the truth will be uncovered – either the child is being abused and something can be done to stop it, or they’re not and life can return to normal for everyone. What if abuse or neglect are uncovered, what exactly do mandatory reporters think is the next step? Are they hoping CPS will punish the parents? Send them to jail? Take their kids away forever? Or offer them rehabilitative services to help them become better parents? A recent study sheds light on this interesting question.

A new study reveals: mandatory reporters want rehabilitative services offered  

The study, published by the American Sociological Review, investigates how “coupling assistance with coercive authority generates an expansive surveillance of U.S. families by attracting referrals from adjacent systems.” In other words, the incredible power that CPS has over families, whether or not they’re offering supportive services or not, creates a system where multiple government agencies are given the ability to penetrate the private lives of families and, essentially, spy on them.

As part of the study, researchers interviewed both the CPS workers doing the investigations, and the mandatory reporters, like teachers, cops and and medical staff, who were making the reports. In almost every case (with the exception of situations where they were sure the abuse or neglect was severe), mandatory reporters held two beliefs:

  1. That CPS workers would figure out the truth and make a fair and reasonable determination about the child’s safety, and
  2. That CPS would offer rehabilitative services wherever possible, keeping families together and providing them with assistance to help them solve their problems.

Most mandatory reporters don’t want families torn apart

Mandatory reporters often get a bad rap. And it’s easy to understand why, from the perspective of a parent or family member who was reported to CPS for suspected abuse or neglect. But from the perspective of the reporter, they’re genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of a child, and feel powerless to protect them. Plus, when you consider the fear they have about potentially losing their professional license for not reporting abuse. Or worse – facing criminal charges. And considering what they expect will happen – a fair review and helpful services offered – It’s easy to see why so many reports are made.

But we all know it doesn’t always end that way. CPS often shows up with preconceived notions, looking for a crime to fit their suspicions. That can lead to a witch hunt, and persecution of innocent parents. If you or a loved one are victims of CPS bullying, or a CPS worker has accused you of abusing or neglecting your child, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled CPS defense attorneys can help you defend your rights and protect your family. Don’t wait, and don’t leave this in the hands of non-experts. There is far too much at stake here to wait.