State and Statute: Iowa, Code §§ 232.67 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, or mental abuse by “a person responsible for the care of a child” (includes a parent, guardian, foster parent, relative, or any other person with whom the child resides and who assumes care or supervision of the child without reference to the length of time or continuity of such residence, an employee of any facility providing care for a child, or any person providing care for a child but with whom the child does not reside, without reference to the duration of the care). [232.68(2)(8)]
Mandatory Reporters: Includes employees of a licensed child care center, licensed school employees, counselors, or mental health professionals, who “in the scope of professional practice or in their employment responsibilities, examines, attends, counsels, or treats a child and reasonably believes a child has suffered abuse.” [232.69]
How and Where to Report: Both orally and in writing. Oral reports shall be made through a 24-hour, toll-free hotline (1-800-362-2178) provided by the Department of Human Services and also shall be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency if the person “believes the immediate protection of the child is advisable.” The written report shall be made to the Department of Human Services within 72 hours of making the oral report. [232.70]
Timeline to Report: Within 24 hours. [232.69]
Clergy Privilege: “Any other statute or rule of evidence which excludes or makes privileged the testimony of a husband or wife against the other or the testimony of a health practitioner or mental health professional as to confidential communications, do not apply to evidence regarding a child’s injuries or the cause of the injuries in any judicial proceeding, civil or criminal, resulting from a report pursuant to this chapter or relating to the subject matter of such a report” [232.74]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Simple misdemeanor [232.75(1)]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? Yes. “Any person, official, agency or institution, required … to report a suspected case of child abuse who knowingly fails to do so or who knowingly interferes with the making of such a report … is civilly liable for the damages proximately caused by such failure or interference.” [232.75(2)]
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “A person who reports or causes to be reported to the Department of Human Services false information regarding an alleged act of child abuse, knowing that the information is false or that the act did not occur, commits a simple misdemeanor.” [232.75(3)]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Department may not reveal reporter’s identity, in written notification or otherwise, to alleged perpetrator. [232.71B(2)] Reporter’s identification not subject to disclosure for certain purposes; reporter’s identity may be withheld in certain proceedings in which it is determined disclosure would be detrimental to reporter’s interests. [235A.19(7)]
Additional Information for Iowa:
- 24-hour, toll-free hotline: 1-800-362-2178*
- Online resources: http://dhs.iowa.gov/child-abuse and https://www.projectharmony.com/Family-Support/How-to-Report-Abuse.aspx
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.