Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Vermont

State and Statute: Vermont, 33 Stats. §§ 4911 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical or mental abuse or neglect by a child’s parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare (includes the child’s parent, guardian, foster parent, or person responsible for the child’s welfare while in a residential, educational or day care setting, including any staff person); or at substantial risk of harm or sexual abuse by any person. [4911 and 4912]

Mandatory Reporters: Includes any “member of the clergy,” school teacher, day care worker, school principal, school guidance counselor, mental health professional, social worker, camp owner, camp administrator, or camp counselor who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected. [4913(a)(2)(12)]

How and Where to Report: Orally or in writing to the Commissioner for Children and Families or its designee. Oral report must be followed by written report. [4914]

Timeline to Report: Within 24 hours. [4913(c)]

Clergy Privilege: “A member of the clergy shall not be required to make a report under this section if the report would be based upon information received in a communication which is: (1) made to a member of the clergy acting in his or her capacity as spiritual advisor; (2) intended by the parties to be confidential at the time the communication is made; (3) intended by the communicant to be an act of contrition or a matter of conscience; and (4) required to be confidential by religious law, doctrine, or tenet.

When a member of the clergy receives information about abuse or neglect of a child in a manner other than as described (above), he or she is required to report on the basis of that information even though he or she may have also received a report of abuse or neglect about the same person or incident in the manner described (above).” [4913(j)(k)]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Fine of not more than $500. Violation with intent to conceal faces imprisonment of not more than six months and a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. [4913(h)(1)(2)]

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

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “Any person … who in good faith makes a report … shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of making a report.” [4913(f)(1)]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Reporter’s identity is confidential unless the reporter provides consent for disclosure, a “Human Services Board or judicial proceeding results therefrom,” a court believes the reporter did not make the report in good faith, or a review indicates disclosure would not compromise the safety of the reporter. [4913(g)]

Additional Information for Vermont:

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

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