State and Statute: Illinois, 325 ILCS 5/ et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or mental abuse inflicted by a parent, family member, person residing in same home as child, or any person responsible for the child’s welfare (includes parents, guardians, persons within a not-for-profit child care facility, and “any other person responsible for the child’s welfare at the time of the abuse, or any person who came to know the child through an official capacity or position of trust, including educational personnel, recreational supervisors, members of the clergy, and volunteers or support personnel in any setting where children may be subject to abuse”). [325 § 5/3]
“A child whose parent, guardian or custodian in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means through prayer alone for the treatment or cure of disease or remedial care may be considered neglected or abused, but not for the sole reason that his parent, guardian or custodian accepts and practices such beliefs.” [325 § 5/4 (n)]
“Any member of the clergy.” [325 § 5/4 (9)]
Also includes any director or staff assistant of a nursery school or a child day care center, recreational program or facility personnel, or child care worker having reasonable cause to believe a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be an abused child.
Clergy may also inform their church that they have made a report, but “under no circumstances shall any person in charge ofsuch…church…exercise any control, restraint, modification or other change in the report or the forwarding of such report tothe Department.” [325 § 5/4(e)]
How and Where to Report: To the Department of Children and Family Services or to the statewide 24-hour, toll-free hotline (1-800-252-2873). [325 § 5/7]
The statute specifies that “the department may, in cooperation with appropriate members of the clergy, distribute appropriate materials in churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, or other religious buildings listing the toll-free telephone number … including methods of making a report under this Act.” [325 § 5/7]
If the Department has contact with a religious institution or religious official having supervisory or hierarchical authority over a member of the clergy accused of the abuse of a child, in the course of its investigation, the Department shall notify the employer or the religious institution or religious official, in writing, when a report is unfounded so that any record of the investigation can be expunged from the employee’s or member of the clergy’s personnel or other records. The Department shall also notify the employee or the member of the clergy, in writing, that notification has been sent to the employer or to the appropriate religious institution or religious official informing the employer or religious institution or religious official that the Department’s investigation has resulted in an unfounded report.” [325 § 5/7.4]
Timeline to Report: Immediately. [325 § 5/7.4(d)]
Clergy Privilege: “A member of the clergy may claim the [clergy-penitent] privilege.” [325 § 5/4(g)]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class A misdemeanor for a first violation and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent violation. Class 4 felony for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent violation for attempting to prevent discovery of an abused or neglected child by authorities. [325 § 5/4(m)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Illinois have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person, institution … participating in good faith in the making of a report or referral … except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct, shall have immunity from any liability, civil, criminal or that otherwise might result by reason of such actions.” [325 § 5/9]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Person making report required to testify. [325 § 5/10] Statutory disclosure must exclude reporter’s identity. [325 § 5/11.1a(c)]
Additional Information for Illinois
- 24-hour, toll-free hotline: 1-800-252-2873*
- Online resources: https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/safekids/reporting/Pages/index.aspx
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.