State and Statute: Rhode Island, Gen. Laws §§ 40-11-1 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or mental abuse, neglect, or sexual exploitatioin by a person responsible for a child’s welfare (includes the child’s parent, guardian, foster parent, or any staff person at a child day care facility). [40-11-2(1)(11)(12)]
Mandatory Reporters: Any person who has reasonable cause. [40-11-3(a)] [40-11-3(a)]
How and Where to Report: To the department of children, youth, and families, or via the state’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline (1-800-742-4453).
Timeline to Report: Within 24 hours, but immediate notification for cases of nutritional deprivation or deprivation of medical or surgical intervention needed to treat a life-threatening condition. [40-11-3(a)(b)]
Clergy Privilege: “The privileged quality of communication between husband and wife and any professional person and his patient or client, except that between attorney and client, is hereby abrogated in situations involving known or suspected child abuse or neglect and shall not constitute grounds for failure to report as required by this chapter, failure to cooperate with the department in its activities pursuant to this chapter, or failure to give or accept evidence in any judicial proceeding relating to child abuse or neglect.” [40-11-11]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Misdemeanor subject to a fine of not more than $500, imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. [40-11-6.1]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? Yes. “Any person, official, physician, or institution who knowingly fails to perform any act required by this chapter or who knowingly prevents another person from performing a required act shall be civilly liable for the damages proximately caused by that failure.” [40-11-6.1]
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person participating in good faith…shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal…” [40-11-4]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity is confidential and only disclosed as provided by law. [42-72-8(a)]
Additional Information for Rhode Island:
- 24-hour, toll-free hotline: 1-800-742-4453*
- Online resources: http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/child-protective-services/
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.