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Section 51A, Child Abuse Reporting Statute

Excerpts from Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 119

Section 51A injured children, reports; immunity; privileged communications; penalties; notice of determination.

Any physician, medical intern, hospital personnel engaged in the examination, care or treatment of persons, medical examiner, psychologist, emergency medical technician, dentist, nurse, chiropractor, podiatrist, osteopath, public or private school teacher, educational administrator, guidance or family counselor, day care worker or any other person paid to care for or work with a child in any public or private facility, or home or program funded by the Commonwealth or licensed pursuant to Chapter 28A, which provides day care or residential services to children or which provides the services of child care resource and referral agencies, voucher management agencies, family day care systems and child care food programs, probation officer, clerk/magistrate of a district court, social worker, foster parent, firefighter or police officer, who, in his or her professional capacity shall have reasonable cause to believe that a child under-the age of 18 is suffering serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him or her including sexual abuse, or from neglect, including malnutrition, or who is determined to be physically dependent upon an addictive drug at birth, shall immediately report such condition to the Department by oral communication and by making a written report within 48 hours after such oral communication; provided, however, that whenever such person so required to report is a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution., school or facility, he shall immediately either notify the Department or notify the person in charge of such institution, school or facility, or that person's designated agent shall then become responsible to make the report in the manner required by this section. Any such hospital personnel preparing such report may take, or cause to be taken, photographs of the areas of trauma visible on a child who is the subject of such report without the consent of the child's parent or guardians. All such photographs or copies thereof shall be sent to the Department together with such report. Any such person so required to make such oral or written reports who fails to do so shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

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