New mandated reporter requirements
By Beth Fender and Shauna Summers
As of January 1, 2020, there are new State of Illinois requirements for anyone who cares for children in either a paid or volunteer role in schools, medical facilities, and in churches. The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act has been expanded to identify more roles (i.e.: volunteer childcare workers in a church) as Mandated Reporters with new training requirements.
This requirement is separate from the IGRC Safe Sanctuaries training and expectations; churches are still strongly urged to have and follow Safe Sanctuaries policies and procedures, including background checks. In addition, the State of Illinois now requires all people who care for children to complete a free DCFS training you can find here: https://mr.dcfstraining.org. Please note that the State of Illinois defines “children” as “anyone under the age of 18” – so volunteers with youth must also complete this training.
- Clergy, as mandated reporters, now must report all suspected child abuse and neglect, not just sexual abuse.
- For appointed clergy and laity assigned as ministerial leaders to local congregations, the DCFS training must be completed in addition to the mandatory Ethics/Boundaries Training required by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
- Clergy and all staff and volunteers working with children in your church must complete the free online training from DCFS within 3 months of beginning their work with children. There is NO EXCEPTION for those who serve infrequently or at the last minute.
- Clergy and all staff and volunteers working with children in your church must retrain every three years after their initial DCFS training.
- All mandated reporters are responsible for maintaining their own training records; not IGRC or the church at which they work or volunteer.
- All mandated reporters must report suspected abuse or neglect if they have “reasonable cause.” This includes abuse or neglect by a parent, another immediate family member, any person (i.e.: renter) residing in the child's home, or any person who is responsible for a child's welfare (i.e.: babysitter)
- Failure to comply with mandatory State of Illinois reporting requirements is a misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 Felony for subsequent offenses.
Wait no longer!
- Go here: https://mr.dcfstraining.org
- The training is 60-90 minutes of interactive, self-paced study
- Print the certificate of completion and keep it for your files
If you have questions regarding the new State of Illinois requirements, please feel free to contact Beth Fender
, IGRC Coordinator of Discipleship and New Streams, or Shauna Summers
, IGRC Coordinator of Pastoral Care and Counseling.