Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Missouri

State and Statute: Missouri, Stats. §§ 210.110 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect, or victims of sex-trafficking. [210.110]

Mandatory Reporters: Minister (defined as “any person while practicing as a minister of the gospel, clergyperson, priest, rabbi, Christian Science practitioner, or other person serving in a similar capacity for any religious organization who is responsible for or who has supervisory authority over one who is responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child or has access to a child” [352.400(1)(3)]), day care center worker or other child-care worker, teacher, principal or other school official, or other person with responsibility for the care of children. [210.115] A religious organization may designate an agent to report on behalf of the organization. If a minister, church official, or staff member does not report abuse, then the designated agent must be notified, and must report. [352.400(6)(3)]

How and Where to Report: Orally to the Department of Social Services Children’s Division via the state’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline (1-800-392-3738) or via the state’s online reporting system for mandated reporters (non-emergencies only): For emergency situations, use the hotline or dial 911. Also, mandated reporters who are uncertain whether to make a report are encouraged to contact their local Children’s Division office to discuss the situation. [210.109, 210.130, and 210.145]

Timeline to Report: Immediately (within 24 hours for suspected sexual abuse). [210.130(3)] and [210.115(1)]

Clergy Privilege: “(A) minister shall not be required to report concerning a privileged communication made to him or her in his or her professional capacity.” [352.400(6)(2)] and [210.140]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class A misdemeanor. [210.165(1)]

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

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: Any person, official, or institution … in the making of a report … shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might result by reason of such actions. Provided, however, any person, official or institution intentionally filing a false report, acting in bad faith, or with ill intent, shall not have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal.” [210.135(1)]

Class A misdemeanor for first-time violation of filing a false report. Class E felony for filing subsequent false reports. [210.165(2)(3)]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity is confidential. [210.109(3)] Statutory access to records must protect reporter’s identity from certain persons. [211.319(3)(4)(2) and 210.150]

Additional Information for Missouri:

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

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