Task Force Declines to Add College Employees to List of Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters

An Iowa task force that was convened last year decided not to add college employees to the list of those mandated to report incidents of child abuse. While the task force was formed prior to the Penn State child abuse scandal, the scandal led to the discussion of whether college employees should be mandatory reporters.

The 18-member group, officially called the Iowa Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force, was convened by the state legislature and charged with strengthening the prevention of child sexual abuse. Last month, the Task Force stated that it would consider adding college employees to the list of mandatory reporters.

The Task Force reviewed the issue and decided that determining which college employees should be mandatory reporters was "too complicated." The Task Force was concerned that requiring all college employees to report would be far-reaching, and could possibly require that even students serving as summer camp counselors become mandatory reporters. The Task Force also was worried that it would be difficult to enforce training and reporting requirements on college employees.

The Task Force, however, is still considering whether to add Iowa clergy to the list of mandatory child abuse reporters. According to Stephen Scott, Director of the Task Force, there is an interest in adding clergy and the concept is still under discussion.

Current List of Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters

Generally, persons who are professionals in the following areas are mandatory reporters under Iowa law:

  • Licensed health care professionals
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Educators
  • Mental health providers
  • Child care providers

The Task Force, however, did agree to recommend more training for those who are mandatory reporters and organizations that work with and/or serve children. Specifically, the Task Force will recommend that the state require more frequent training sessions, more rigorous training materials and better qualified trainers.

A former chair of the state commission on child abuse stated that this is needed because the current training is weak and has very few requirements. The Task Force also stated that it would like all organizations that come in contact with children, such as youth sports leagues, mentoring programs or day camps, to attend voluntarily child abuse prevention training.

The final report is due to the state legislature this month.