How to Report: Mandated Reporters
It is your legal and ethical responsibility to speak up to protect children. Centralized Intake is the lifeline to keeping children safe.
The Michigan Child Protection Law mandates that persons who interact with children professionally in Michigan report suspected or possible child sexual abuse to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
If you work in schools, childcare settings, hospitals and healthcare, social work, counseling, law enforcement or with faith-based organizations and you suspect the abuse or neglect of a child or minor with which you have interacted, or have come to learn of an incident through your work, you are mandated to report.
There are criminal and civil penalties for NOT reporting. And simply notifying a supervisor at your workplace about suspected child sexual abuse does not relieve you from the requirement to report the incident, or suspicion, directly to the Michigan DHHS.
What to do
Download form DHS-3200. Print and complete this form, to the best of your ability, without delay. It’s OK if you do not know all of the information. Timeliness is most important. This form is also linked to the MDHHS website.
Call immediately. Make a report any time, day or night, by calling 1-855-444-3911. You will reach the Centralized Intake Line operated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The form you filled out will help you answer the questions you will be asked. You will be given a log number – write it down. The average call takes just 15 minutes to complete and you must call immediately when you are informed of or have suspicions of abuse or neglect.
Submit form DHS-3200. Write the log number on the form and send it to DHHS within 72 hours. Either mail to: Department of Health and Human Services, Centralized Intake for Abuse and Neglect, 5321 28th Street Court S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49546, email to: DHS-CPS-CIGroup@michigan.gov or fax to: 616-977-1154 or 616-977-1158.
Notify your supervisor. Tell your boss that you have made a report. Please note: Reporting the suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the head of an organization does not satisfy the reporting requirements imposed by law. You must be the one to place the call and make the report.
Definition of child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse involves any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given, regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity. This includes:
- All sexual contact between an adult and a child.
- Sexual contact that is accomplished by force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants.
- Sexual contact between an older and a younger child if there is a significant disparity in age, development, or size, rendering the younger child incapable of giving informed consent.
- Any intentional touching/contact that can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or any other improper purpose.
- Sexual penetration.
- Non-contact sexual acts such as exposure or voyeurism.
- Accosting, soliciting, or enticing a child to commit, or attempt to commit, an act of sexual contact or penetration, including prostitution.
- The discovery of child pornography.
Make an immediate report when:
A child discloses child sexual abuse of any form to you, you discover any form of child sexual abuse yourself, or you see or hear something that is concerning or troubling, giving you suspicion that child sexual abuse may be happening.
It is always best to err on the side of caution and to report anything you might suspect. There is no penalty for making a report in good faith and it is the responsibility of Child Protective Services to determine what actions should follow.
Do I need proof before I call?
No. Most child sexual abuse is not witnessed, and no one expects you to be the investigator. Ask only open-ended questions if and when a child discloses to you such as, “What happened next?” and “Can you tell me more?”
What happens with the report?
Your information will be checked against a database to see if this child has been named in previous reports of suspected abuse or if the suspected perpetrator has had previous reports of committing abuse or acting in a suspicious way toward other minors.
Then centralized intake staff and supervisors will determine the course of action. You will receive a letter explaining the action that was taken. There are three possible outcomes:
- Assigned – to child protective services for investigation
- Rejected – but still kept in the database
- Transferred – to local law enforcement
What is required of me, beyond reporting?
If the case is assigned to child protective services or law enforcement, you may receive a call in order to gather more information. Your cooperation in this process is appreciated.
Will my identity become known to the suspect, the child or his/her family?
The identity of a reporting person is confidential under the law. The alleged perpetrator could possibly infer from the information in the report who made the complaint, however, MDHHS will not disclose the identity of a reporting person.
If you have other questions regarding your role as a mandated reporter or the reporting process, please contact your local MDHHS office as listed in the Michigan DHHS County Composite Directory.
Thank you for reporting
Nationally, one in 10 children is sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Working together, we can get to…zero.