Did you know that certain persons listed in a Colorado statute are required to report any suspected child abuse to police or the Department of Human Services? This law, listed a C.R.S. 19-3-304, is a windfall for police and social services, but a huge loss for the privacy and health of men, women and kids across our state. Seeking to charge more men and women in Denver and Jefferson County with Child Abuse, C.R.S. 1818-6-401, Colorado’s lawmakers have forgotten about the very people they are supposed to protect: children.
More Child Abuse is Better, Right?
The idea is to make it harder for people to hide child abuse of any kind. While this is remedied to some extent under Colorado’s Mandatory Reporter law, what is not covered by the law is an exception for people who are in counseling or who freely bring kids in for medical attention. The result is that many people who need counseling don’t go get it for themselves or their kids. Children who need medical care go without as their parents fear being charged with a crime once police or social services get involved after a report at the hospital. These fears are realistic – Child Abuse is a real crime and people can really go to jail in Adams or Arapahoe County.
The Real Cost of Colorado’s Mandatory Reporter Law
Our government often creates laws without considering the cost. In this case, kids going without counseling or medical care is a huge cost to society. Parents not getting necessary counseling so they don’t further hurt kids, is a huge cost. Sure, we get to catch a few more bad guys with this law and charge them with Child Abuse in Douglas or Eagle County, but most people quickly learn that going for help is hazardous to an adult’s freedom – so they don’t. The price we have is suffering for the very children sought to be protected. This would be easy to fix with an exception for people trying to get medical or psychological care.
Who are the Mandatory Reporters?
Colorado Mandatory Reporters now include doctors, nurses, teachers, counselors, therapists, dentists, veterinarians, police and athletic coaches. Being on this list requires these professionals to be the eyes and ears of the police and social services (DHS). Privacy concerns are no longer relevant. If a provider on the list fails to make a report of a suspicion of child abuse, they can lose their license or be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor. Read about Whether a Clergy member or Pastor is a Mandatory Reporter.
We represent men and women accused of Child Abuse every day. Always refuse to answer police questions and contact one of our firm’s Child Abuse lawyers at 303-731-0719 today. Together, we can protect your future.