Abuse Reporting Mandates

Reporting Child Abuse

For more information on state laws and board rules that affect social workers, see the Jurisprudence Help pagehere.

To view the actual law, search in Colorado Revised Statutes  for 19-3-304 Persons Required to Report Child Abuse or Neglect. 


Colorado Statute 19-3-304 requires "specified persons" who have reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect or who has observed the child being subjected to circumstances or conditions which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect shall immediately upon receiving such information report or cause a report to be made of such fact to the county department or local law enforcement agency.

The list of specified persons includes, among many others, social workers.  This applies to ALL social workers, not just licensed ones.  In Colorado the term social worker has title protection and applies to anyone who has graduated from an accredited social work program at any level (BSW, MSW).

Update to Statute

In 2010, a new law (SB 66) was passed that clarified this statute in situations when the victim is an adult but the abuse took place when s/he was a child.  It states that mandatory reporting does not apply if the specified person (e.g. social worker) did not learn of the suspected abuse until AFTER the victim was 18 years of age or older, unless there is reasonable cause to know or suspect that the perpetrator:

  • Has subjected any other child currently under eighteen to abuse or neglect;
  • Or, is currently in a position of trust (For definition click Colorado Revised Statutes above and search for Section 18-3-401 (3.5)

Reporting Elder Abuse

On July 1, 2014, mandatory reporting of elder abuse against persons age 70 and older became law (CRS 18-6.5-108). This law requires Social Workers and other professionals to report abuse, neglect, and exploitation to law enforcement when they observe or become aware of the mistreatment. The new law also has legal penalties for mandatory reporters if they fail to report mistreatment. You can learn more at through Co Dept of Human Services Adult Protective Services here