CHILD ABUSE REPORTER TRAINING REQUIRED FOR LICENSE RENEWAL

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[Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2020, during a license renewal year.  Mandated child abuse reporter training is required once every 6 years for licensed physicians.  Therefore, if you completed the mandated training prior to the last renewal, you do not need to repeat the training for the next renewal.]

As ICS members know, Illinois licensed physicians are included in a list of “mandated reporters” who must notify the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) when the physician has reasonable cause to believe that a child may be abused or neglected.  All mandated reporters, including physicians, must complete DCFS mandated reporter training under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, effective January 1, 2020.[i]  

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MANDATED CHILD ABUSE REPORTER TRAINING

The mandated reporter training may be provided in person or online.  DCFS provides required training online free of charge here

Topics for the course must include, at minimum:  

  • indicators for recognizing child abuse and child neglect, as defined under the Act; 
  • the process for reporting suspected child abuse and child neglect in Illinois as required by the Act and the required documentation; 
  • responding to a child in a trauma-informed manner; and 
  • understanding the response of child protective services and the role of the reporter after a call has been made.

DCFS has not filed proposed rules to detail the requirements.  Therefore, the ICS is providing the following information based on our best interpretation of the law as written:

  • Currently licensed physicians (licensed prior to August 1, 2020), were required to complete and attest to training in order to renew their licenses for the cycle starting August 1, 2020 (although it was not counted toward the required 150 CME hours for that renewal). 
  • New physicians must complete an initial mandated reporter training “within 3 months of their date of engagement in a professional or official capacity as a mandated reporter.”  The ICS interprets this to require that any new associate physician employee or any new physician owner who has not completed training must complete it within 3 months of commencing employment.
  • After initial training, medical personnel, including physicians, who work with children in their professional or official capacity, must complete mandated reporter training at least every 6 years. Such medical personnel, if licensed, must attest at each time of licensure renewal on their renewal form that they understand they are a mandated reporter of child abuse and neglect, that they are aware of the process for making a report, that they know how to respond to a child in a trauma-informed manner, and that they are aware of the role of child protective services and the role of a reporter after a call has been made. This provision requires training every 6 years if the physician sees at least one child during that 6-year period.
  • After initial training, in lieu of repeated training, medical personnel, including physicians, who do NOT work with children in their professional or official capacity, may instead attest each time at licensure renewal on their renewal form that they understand they are a mandated reporter of child abuse and neglect, that they are aware of the process for making a report, that they know how to respond to a child in a trauma-informed manner, and that they are aware of the role of child protective services and the role of a reporter after a call has been made.  This provision requires training every 6 years if the physician sees at least one child during that 6-year period.
  • Beginning January 1, 2021, the law permits licensees to count mandated reporter training toward meeting required continuing education hours.  Physicians who are required to complete training after January 1, 2021, will be allowed to count the training toward their required 150 hours of CME per 3-year renewal period.  However, the IDFPR has not issued any rules yet to specify if the training counts toward the 60 formal hours or 90 informal hours of required continuing education.  Thus, the ICS recommends that physicians count the training as informal CME unless and until the IDFPR rules otherwise.  
  • Each mandated reporter shall report to his or her employer and, when applicable, to his or her licensing or certification board that he or she received the mandated reporter training. The mandated reporter shall maintain records of completion. The ICS also strongly recommends that employers should maintain records of all required employee training.

DCFS DESCRIBES THE TRAINING AS:  

The DCFS Mandated Reporting training can be taken free of charge here.

  1. A pre-training assessment (13 multiple-choice questions);
  2. 60-90 minutes of self-paced interactive training;
  3. A post-training assessment (13 multiple-choice questions; and
  4. A Certificate of Completion.

The ICS urges physicians to complete the mandated reporter training as soon as possible in light of the upcoming licensure renewal.

REQUIRED FORM FOR EMPLOYEES WHO ARE MANDATED REPORTERS: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF REPORTING RESPONSIBILITY

DCFS Rules require employee physicians and other mandated reporter health care licensees to sign statements acknowledging that they are mandated to report suspected child abuse and neglect. The statement is to be made on the DCFS form, which is to be provided by the employer.  The form, entitled “ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MANDATED REPORTER STATUS,” also contains a list of the categories of professional licensees who are deemed to be mandated reporters and who must sign the form as employees, which includes licensed physical therapists, athletic trainers, and acupuncturists.  The form can be found here.

Clinic owners should have their employees who are licensed physicians, physical therapists, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, and any other mandated reporters, sign the acknowledgment form prior to the beginning of employment (or if not, the ICS recommends as soon thereafter as possible), and it must be retained by the employer as a permanent part of the personnel record.  

Click here for DCFS’ Manual for Mandated Reporters: https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/safekids/reporting/Documents/cfs_1050-21_mandated_reporter_manual.pdf.


[i] Note:  this training is in addition to required physician Sexual Harassment Prevention Training At this time, physicians are required to complete:

  1. Sexual harassment prevention training for chiropractic physicians and any other licensed health care workers in their offices (provided by the ICS as an approved CME sponsor);

; and

  1. Mandated reporter training (provided by the Department of Children and Family Services).

About Author

Adrienne Hersh, JD, ICS Legal Counsel

Adrienne has worked as the Illinois Chiropractic Society's General Counsel since 2003. She represents the Society as in-house counsel and advises the organization on a wide range of legal issues affecting chiropractic physicians, including licensing laws and rules, scope of practice, insurance and reimbursement, business structuring, labor and employment, contracts and litigation. Adrienne previously served for 8 years as general counsel to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (now the Division of Professional Regulation, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation), where she was chief legal counsel responsible for overseeing all legal issues and advising the 50+ licensing and disciplinary boards, including the Medical Disciplinary Board and the Medical Licensing Board. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association Health Care Section, the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys, and the National Association of Chiropractic Attorneys.

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