DFS column – Mandated Reporting for Child Protection in the Medical Field

From Wyoming Department of Family Services

Child Abuse and Neglect is confirmed across Wyoming. The most prevalent form of child maltreatment in Wyoming is Neglect, which resulted in more than 75 percent of the child protection cases in 2015. Additionally in 2015, Wyoming had 1077 unique substantiated victims of child maltreatment. Of the 1077 child victims under the age of 18, 90.50 percent were maltreated by a biological parent, 779 of these victims were under the age of 10, and 140 of them were under the age of five

All citizens have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Wyoming state law (W.S. 14-3-205 & 35-20-103) mandates that any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report regardless of their profession. While all citizens have the responsibility to report, only a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner and law enforcement have the authority to take protective custody if child maltreatment is suspected.

The Department of Family Services does not have the authority to take protective custody without the involvement of either law enforcement or the above mentioned medical personnel.
If, as a medical provider, you have concerns about a patient’s safety and well-being, please call your local Department of Family Services. The Department of Family Services would like to coordinate efforts with you, physicians and all medical personnel, to serve children and families who are affected by these difficult situations. Reporting child abuse and neglect does not mean that children will need to be removed from their families. In most child protection cases, children remain with their parents and a plan is developed between the Department of Family Services and the family, to resolve issues that have been problematic and to identify and provide services that support the needs of the family.

The Department of Family Services would ask that you help us to identify and serve those children and families who need assistance now, today.  Please make a referral to your local Department of Family Services if you have knowledge of a child that may be at risk for abuse and/or neglect, or may be abused and/or neglected.  The Department of Family Services will reach out to those children and families so they are provided the help and services they need.

If you are interested in hosting agency staff training on Mandated Reporting please contact Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming at pcawy@wycrp.org or 307-637-8622