Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Maryland

State and Statute: Maryland, Family Code §§ 5-701 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical or mental injury, or sexual abuse, “whether physical injuries are sustained or not.” [5-701(b)(1)(2)]

Mandatory Reporters: Any person. [5-705]

How and Where to Report: Oral or written report to the local Department of Social Services or law enforcement agency. [5-705(a)(c)]

Timeline to Report: “Report abuse not later than 48 hours after a health practitioner, police officer, educator or human service worker has knowledge that a child has been abused.” [5-704(b)]

For all other persons, no specific deadline stated [5-705]

An individual with a child care institution, school, or similar institution who believes a child is in hte presece of “a parent, guardian, or caregiver” or “in the regular presence” of another individual who is a registered sex offender and “poses a substantial risk of sexual abuse to the child,” shall “immediately” notify. [5-704.1(a)(b)]

Clergy Privilege: A minister, clergyman, or priest is not required to report when learning of actual or suspected abuse or neglect through communication of a “professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church” and the “minister, clergyman, or priest is bound to maintain the confidentiality of that communication under canon law, church doctrine, or practice.” [5-705(a)(3)(i-ii)]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report:

A person who is required to provide notice of suspected abuse or neglect of a child or make a written report of suspected abuse or neglect of a child under § 5-704 of the Family Law Article may not knowingly fail to provide the required notice or make the required written report if the person has actual knowledge of the abuse or neglect. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both. This section applies only to a failure to report child abuse or neglect that occurs during the time the child is a minor. [Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. § 3-602.2]

Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Maryland have recognized civil liability.

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person who in good faith makes or participates in making a report of abuse or neglect [under the Family Law Articles]… is immune from any civil liability or criminal penalty that would otherwise result from making or participating in a report of abuse or neglect.” [5-620 and 5-708]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Statutory disclosure of confidential records and reports is not to disclose or identify reporter. [5-712.1(c)]

Additional Information for Maryland:

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

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