New Illinois law increases pool of mandatory reporters
QUINCY (WGEM) - Mandated reporters can play a big role in recognizing when kids are hurting and now the list of Illinois mandated reporters is growing.
A new law in effect adds occupational therapists and assistants, physical therapists and assistants, and athletic trainers to the list of people required to report suspicions of child abuse.
Adams County Chief Deputy of Operations Patrick Frazier said expanding that list is good for protecting kids. He said mandatory reporters includes people who spend a lot of time around children, such as medical professionals and teachers.
“Law enforcement works off of tips a lot of times on investigations so if that group is getting larger by including people like the therapists or athletic trainers, that would be a good, positive thing to get the cases reported and to the people that can investigate it,” Frazier said.
Advocacy Network for Children CAC Coordinator Susan Tode said mandatory reporters are often times the first ones to recognize the signs of abuse.
She said additions to the mandatory reporter list mean more eyes are looking out for possible cases of abuse. She said therapists and athletic trainers can see things others can’t.
“Typically in these fields they are looking at the bodies of children and often the way bodies move and they can see when a child’s been injured or moving in a way that would indicate injury,” Tode said.
She said there are other groups that could be added to the list including park employees, massage therapists, or hair dressers as all interact with kids in a close setting and could notice any signs of abuse.
Tode said some signs of child abuse include unusual bruising on parts of the body like their face and neck along with kids being scared if they feel like they are in trouble for something small.
If you suspect a child is being abused, you can contact local law enforcement or the Department of Children and Family Services at 800-252-2873.
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