Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Colorado

State and Statute: Colorado, Stats. §§ 19-3-301 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or neglect, by a parent, guardian, or legal custodian. [19-1-103(1)(a)] and [19-3-102]

Mandatory Reporters: Includes any “clergy member,” Christian science practitioners, public or private school official or employee, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, unlicensed psychotherapists. [19-3-304(II)(B)(2) and 19-3-304(aa)(I)]

How and Where to Report: Local law enforcement agency or local department of social services or through the state’s child abuse reporting hotline (1-844-264-5437), “followed promptly by a written report.” [19-3-307(1)]

Timeline to Report: Immediately. [19-3-307(1)]

Clergy Privilege: A clergy member’s duty to report child abuse “shall not apply to a person who acquires reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect during a communication about which the person may not be examined as a witness pursuant to the clergy-penitent privilege unless the person also acquires such reasonable cause from a source other than such a communication.”

“Clergy member” defined as “a priest, rabbi, duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church, member of a religious order, or recognized leader of any religious body.” [19-3-304(aa)(II) and (III)]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class 2 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501 [19-3-304(4)(a)]

Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? Yes. Any person who is a mandatory reporter of child abuse and who willfully fails to report known or reasonably suspected incidents of abuse “shall be liable for damages proximately caused thereby.” [19-3-304(4)(b)]

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person … participating in good faith in the making of a report … shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, … unless a court of competent jurisdiction determines that such person’s behavior was willful, wanton, and malicious. For the purpose of any proceedings, civil or criminal, the good faith of any such person reporting child abuse … shall be presumed.” [19-3-309]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Except as otherwise provided in 19-1-307 and 19-1-303, reporter’s identity is confidential. [19-3-313.5(4)] Reporter identity excluded from any citizen review panels or governing bodies with access to child abuse or neglect reports. [19-3-211(1)(f)]

Additional Information for Colorado:

All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.

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