Ahead of State Assembly Hearing, Families, Advocates, and Mandated Reporters Call for an End to New York’s Harmful Mandatory Reporting Policies

Families, survivors of domestic violence, children’s rights leaders, reproductive justice advocates, public defenders, and mandated reporters called for an end to the practice of mandatory reporting at a community rally before the New York State Assembly’s Standing Committee on Children and Families and Subcommittee on Foster Care’s Wednesday hearing on “The Child Welfare System and the Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse or Maltreatment in New York State.

Mandatory reporting refers to the web of federal and state laws requiring community-based professionals to report suspected incidents of child maltreatment. Rather than fulfilling their stated goal of detecting child abuse, these laws unjustly target marginalized families and turn professionals – including doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, and others – into the eyes and ears of the family policing system. Mandated reporting creates a system of surveillance that conflates symptoms of poverty and structural racism with child maltreatment. Under mandated reporting, Black, Latine, Indigenous, and low-income families live under the near constant threat of family separation.

“Mandated reporting forces trusted community professionals like teachers and doctors to report families in need to a harmful and biased system of investigation and separation,” said Nila Natarajan, Associate Director of Policy & Family Defense, Brooklyn Defender Services. “Alternative systems of support are being recognized, created, and proven to work. If we replace the mandate with more and better opportunities for professionals to provide resources, New York families will be safer and more supported.”

Read our full joint press release here.

Read the full testimony here.

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