Mandated Reporting Essay

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In all 50 states, there are mandated reporting laws which legally require certain professionals to report instances of child abuse to state child protection services agencies. (find cite) Child abuse may include physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and maltreatment. Failure of a mandated reporter to report may result in significant consequences ranging from the loss of a professional license to civil liability to a period of incarceration. However, for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and others in the helping professions, mandated reporting laws have created a significant ethical dilemma. In a therapeutic setting, even when the client feels that they are speaking in confidence, when a therapist hears of facts that amount to child abuse, he or she is mandated to report those facts to the appropriate authorities. As a result, psychologists have reported that having to break confidentiality to report a suspected case of child abuse is a common ethical issue. Chpter 2 page 42 Indeed, the fact that confidentiality is considered a most basic ethical principle is articulated in the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, which states: 4.01 Maintaining Confidentiality Psychologists have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium, recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law or established by institutional rules or professional or scientific relationship. In fact, the concept of confidentiality is so central in a therapeutic relationship that a study found that only 50% of practicing psychologists informed clients of the limits of confidentiality and 12% actually informed their clients that everything discussed while in session was confidential. Chapter 2 p 44 The

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