California law mandates that certain individuals report known or suspected instances of elder or dependent adult abuse. Failure to do so is a crime. Senate Bill 2199 (Chapter 946, Statutes of 1998) broadened and redefined “abuse of an elder or dependent adult,” expanded the definition of “mandated reporters” and added “abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, and neglect” to the list of reportable crimes.
To provide staff with the definition and legal responsibilities of mandated reporters. California law requires that mandated reporters follow specific requirements for reporting known or suspected cases of abuse to the proper authorities.
California law states that: “Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or local law enforcement agency is a mandated reporter.”
(Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15630, see Appendix 5)
A “care custodian” is defined as an administrator or an employee of a public or private facility who provides care for elders and dependent adults as part of his or her official duties, including support and maintenance staff.
(Note: For the complete legal definition of “care custodian” see Appendix 6)
Individuals employed in long-term health care facilities have a legal responsibility to help assure that all residents in the facility are protected and kept safe from harm.
California’s mandated reporting law states: “Any mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects abuse shall report… ” (Emphasis added.)
(Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15630 (b)(1))
In summary, the reporting requirements are as follows:
Under California law, there are certain designated health practitioners who are not required to report abuse or neglect when specific conditions exist. This exemption applies to only the following health practitioners:
These certain individuals are not required to report an incident, where all of the following conditions exist:
Remember: Every individual that has knowledge of an incident that appears to be abuse, must file a report.
There is no penalty for filing a report; there is a significant penalty for failing to file.
The reporting requirements for mandated reporters as outlined on the previous page are found in the California Welfare and Institutions Code, beginning with Section 15630.
(See Appendix 3)
Even if you have reasonable doubts or concerns, it is best to err on the side of caution and the law and file the report.