(a) A county welfare agency, as determined in Section 10612.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, may develop a pilot program for Internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect. The pilot program may receive reports by mandated reporters, as specified in paragraph (5), of suspected child abuse or neglect and shall meet all of the following conditions:
(1) The suspected child abuse or neglect does not indicate that the child is subject to an immediate risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation or that the child is in imminent danger of severe harm or death.
(2) The agency provides an Internet form that includes standardized safety assessment qualifying questions in order to obtain necessary information required to assess the need for child welfare services and a response. The State Department of Social Services shall provide guidance through written directives to counties participating in the pilot program to incorporate qualifying questions in the online report that would indicate the need to redirect the mandated reporter to perform a telephone report.
(3) The mandated reporter is required to complete all required fields, including identity and contact information of the mandated reporter, in order to submit the report.
(4) The agency provides an Internet-based reporting system that has appropriate security protocols to preserve the confidentiality of the reports and any documents or photographs submitted through the system.
(5) The system can only be used by mandated reporters who are any of the following:
(A) A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.
(B) A probation officer or social worker, as defined in Section 215 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(C) A school teacher, counselor, or administrator.
(D) A physician and surgeon, psychologist, licensed nurse, or clinical social worker licensed pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and Professions Code.
(E) A coroner.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as changing current statutory or regulatory requirements regarding timely review, assessment, and response to reports of possible abuse or neglect.
(b) (1) In a county where the pilot program is active, a mandated reporter listed in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) may use the Internet-based reporting tool in lieu of the required initial telephone report required by subdivision (a) of Section 11166. A mandated reporter listed in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) submitting an Internet-based report in accordance with this subdivision shall, as soon as practically possible, cooperate with the agency on any requests for additional information if needed to investigate the report, subject to applicable confidentiality requirements.
(2) In a county where the pilot program is active, a mandated reporter who submits the initial report through the Internet-based reporting tool in lieu of the required initial telephone report is not required to submit the written followup report required pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 11166.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.
(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 490, Sec. 1. (SB 478) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, by its own provisions.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018