Information, resources and guidance

Guidelines for All University Employees

If a university employee knows or reasonably believes that a child has been abused or is in immediate danger of abuse, the employee should immediately contact the local or nearest law enforcement agency (911), or campus police department (UCMPD) at 209-CAT-COPS.

Employees may also make reports via any of the following means:

If you are a mandated reporter you have additional statutory reporting responsibilities. Please review the information below for Guidelines for Mandated Reporters.

Guidelines for Mandated Reporters

  • Mandated reporters are those who, by virtue of their professional licensure or required job qualifications or their university duties or activities, may have contact with children younger than the age of 18 on a regular or repeated basis, regardless of whether the contact is frequent, including, but not limited to, faculty, individuals supervising programs that involve children (childcare centers, day camps and K-12 programs and individuals assigned to work in and around campus Police, Housing, Recreation and Facilities Management departments).
  • External Report Required by Law: Immediately by telephone report observed or suspected child abuse or neglect to any one of the agencies designated to receive these reports.
  • Supervisors of such employees are also mandated reporters.

As a condition of employment, each mandated reporter must sign a Statement Acknowledging Requirement to Report Child Abuse​, which will be maintained by the university as a personnel record.

Upon gaining knowledge of or reasonably suspecting child abuse or neglect, each mandated reporter must immediately or as soon as practicably possible make a report as described below.

If you are unsure that what you suspect indicates abuse or neglect, you should call the child welfare authorities to ask.

The initial telephone report must be followed by a written report to the same agency within 36 hours. A written report may be submitted on form SS8572.

  1. External Report Required by Law: Immediately by telephone report observed or suspected child abuse or neglect to agencies designated to receive these reports. These include:

  2. Internal Report Required by UC Policy: Promptly report observed or suspected child abuse or neglect to your supervisor or through the University of California Compliance Hotline​:

    • This internal reporting requirement does not apply to: (1) clinicians or staff who identify abuse or neglect in connection with the provision of mental health services through faculty and staff assistance programs; nor (2) victim advocates employed by or volunteering in campus resource or advocacy centers who identify abuse or neglect in connection with their confidential work as advocates.

    • Mandated Reporters at any UC Merced healthcare facility (e.g. Student Health Services and Counseling & Psychological Services) who observe or suspect child abuse or neglect must comply with any internal reporting obligations set forth in the facilities’ local bylaws and policies.

    • An internal report is not a substitute for a mandated reporter’s required external report as described in above.

  • Physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means. [CANRA § 11165.6]
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual assault or sexual exploitation of a child. [CANRA § 11165.1]
  • Neglect: The negligent treatment, lack of treatment or the maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare. [CANRA § 11165.3]
  • Willful harming or injuring or endangering a child: A situation in which any person inflicts, or willfully causes or permits a child to suffer, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or causes or permits a child to be placed in a situation in which the child or child’s health is endangered. [CANRA § 11165.3]
  • Unlawful corporal punishment or injury willfully inflicted on a child and resulting in a traumatic condition. [CANRA § 11165.4]
  • Sexual exploitation: Depicting a child in, or knowingly developing, duplicating, printing, downloading, streaming, accessing through any electronic or digital media, or exchanging, a film, photograph, videotape, video recording, negative or slide in which a child is engaged in an act of obscene sexual conduct. [CANRA § 111165.1]

See "Definition of Child Abuse and Neglect' section below for additional information.

After a report is filed, the county child welfare department or local law enforcement agency investigates the allegations. These agencies are also required to cross-report suspected child abuse or neglect cases to each other.

The county child welfare department or law enforcement agency investigation will result in one of three outcomes.

  • Unfounded report  the report is false, or does not involve abuse, such as an accidental injury.
  • Substantiated report  it is determined that child abuse has occurred.
  • Inconclusive report  there is insufficient evidence to determine whether abuse has occurred.

Only substantiated reports of child abuse and severe neglect must be forwarded to the Department of Justice. The county child welfare department will determine if children need to be removed from the home or if services need to be offered to the parents or caregivers. Law enforcement agencies may also pursue criminal prosecution.

A mandated reporter who fails to make a required report is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine, or both. He or she may also be found civilly liable for damages, especially if the child-victim or another child is further victimized because of the failure to report.

Mandated reporters have immunity from criminal or civil liability for reporting as required or authorized by law.

The identity of a mandated reporter is confidential and disclosed only among agencies receiving or investigating reports and other designated agencies. Reports are confidential and may be re-disclosed only to specified persons and agencies.

Any violation of confidentiality provided by CANRA is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment, fine or both.

Harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare can occur through, among other things, non-accidental physical or mental abuse, sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation or neglect. See California Penal Code Section 11165.1-11165.6 for detailed definition.

Physical Abuse: intentional acts or omissions that cause, or fail to prevent, physical injury to a child.

Emotional or Mental Abuse: intentional actions or omissions that have an actual or likely negative impact on a child’s emotional and behavioral development, including those resulting from persistent or severe emotional mistreatment.

Sexual abuse: may be perpetrated by an adult or another child and includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of any child to engage in, or having a child assist any other person to engage in, any sexual assault including rape, incest, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, oral copulation, penetration of genital or anal opening by a foreign object and child molestation. Sexual abuse also includes any activity that is meant to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of the perpetrating adult or child. Sexual abuse may or may not involve touching.

Sexual exploitation: includes allowing, permitting or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution and allowing, permitting, encouraging or engaging in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming or depicting of a child for commercial purposes.

Neglect: a severe or persistent failure to provide for a child’s physical, emotional or basic needs. However, it is not “neglect” if the actual or suspected injuries result solely from economic or environmental factors that are beyond the caretaker or parent’s control, such as inadequate housing, income, clothing and medical care.

While mandated reporter training is not required, all mandated reporters are expected to comply with the duties of the role.

The university strongly encourages you, as a mandated reporter, to complete Praesidium’s online training course to help you understand your role in recognizing and reporting child abuse.

If you are interested in the training, please contact Risk Services.

Guidelines for Program Directors and Supervisors

Supervisors and program directors can design online training programs for their departments or unit employees and volunteers.

Select from several online courses that focus on prevention of abuse of minors.

Training for Mandated Reporters under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) is also available. It is easy for supervisors and program directors to make these courses available to employees and volunteers.

Take these steps to get your training started:

  1. For each program or department to receive training, select the courses to be made available to your staff and volunteers on page 3 of the enrollment form​ and return to Risk Services (a “program” may be child care, youth sport camps, minors in labs, community outreach to minors, etc.)
  2. Risk Services will forward the completed form to Praesidium so that your training courses can be set up in Armatus.
  3. You will then receive an email containing the registration code and a program name to be used on the self-registration page. Provide this information to your staff and volunteers who will require the training.
  4. ***Important  Please advise your enrollees that they must correctly choose the right organization (UC Merced). Otherwise, after the enrollee is set up as a user, the user will not be associated with the correct program***
  5. If you would like to review any course before filling out the form, contact Risk Services for assistance. A Certificate of Completion is available for each training module. At the conclusion of the course, click the “print certificate” button. If you would like to attach an enrollee’s training record to the UC Learning Management System (LMS), contact Risk Services for assistance.
  6. A limited number of courses are also offered directly through the UC Learning Center (LMS).  To register, search the catalog for "CANRA" and the available courses will appear. 

Online self-assessment tools give supervisors and program directors an accurate measure of the strength of existing policies and practices as well as a customized action plan including help with policies and procedures.

For more information and access to the tool, email Risk Services.

Office of the President Risk Services offers guidance about Guidelines, Training & Insurance​ for management of youth activities.

Guidelines for Faculty

All instructional appointees at UC Merced — including Senate/ladder-rank faculty members, non-Senate faculty members and lecturers, teaching assistants and teaching fellows are designated as mandated reporters.

Please refer to Guidelines for Mandated Reporters for more information.

Guidelines for Students

By UC policy, all university employees, contractors, volunteers or students who observe, have actual knowledge of, or reasonably suspect child abuse or neglect at a university facility or at official university activities are encouraged to promptly report their concerns.

The concern may be reported to a supervisor, to a university official, to the campus police department or through the university’s compliance hotline.

Student employees and those working with faculty on research projects should check with their supervisors or supervising faculty members regarding their mandated reporter status.

Guidelines for Volunteers​

Volunteers in university-sponsored programs are generally not considered mandated reporters.

However, departments must consider the qualifications or services provided by each volunteer to determine if he or she meets the criteria of a mandated reporter.

Volunteers who direct or manage official university programs could be considered mandated reporters. For example, a volunteer who is a university "official" such as a volunteer who runs a retreat program for kids on behalf of the university, would be considered a mandated reporter.