Mandated Reporter Policy

Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Reporting

The safety of our students is one of our highest priorities at BookNook. We require all BookNook staff and tutors, regardless of the state in which they are currently working, to immediately report incidents of suspected child abuse or neglect. As required by law and expressed in our school partner agreements, each staff member and independent contractor who has or is likely to have direct contact with students participating in our services, is a mandated reporter. This duty is contractually obligated and passed onto any third-party tutoring vendors. As such, we must work in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure we meet our mandatory obligations and ensure the safety of our students. 

To make a mandated report, please complete the Student Incident Report Form.


Definition of a Mandated Reporter

A mandated reporter is a person who, because of his/her/their profession, is legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities. When reporting abuse or neglect, tutors must remember a report is not an accusation, but a request to appropriate agencies to investigate whether neglect or abuse has taken place. All of our BookNook Online Tutors, including third-party contracted tutors, are mandated reporters because they interact with school partners and directly with students. 


Mandated Reporter Responsibilities

A tutor who becomes aware of abuse or neglect while providing direct services to students must report. Discussing the matter with BookNook staff or conducting internal conversations at BookNook does not satisfy our reporting requirement. The duty to report abuse or neglect is an individual responsibility (CA Penal Code § 11166(i)). A tutor bears the individual obligation of ensuring that the official report is submitted and complies with the requirements of the law.


Child Abuse and Neglect Definition

As mandated reporters, one must learn to recognize the signs of child abuse or neglect. The presence of a single sign does not necessarily mean that child abuse or neglect is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination. We must also remember that culture shapes the lives of our students and how they are raised. Behaviors considered abusive in one culture, such as harsh verbal discipline, may be considered acceptable in another.  

The following lists are not exhaustive, but they provide some guidelines on possible signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect.


When A Mandated Reporter Must Report

Child abuse and neglect is not always easy to discern. The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, as well as the Welfare and Institutions Code describes in detail what constitutes abuse and neglect (CA Penal Code §§ 11164 et seq.; Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 300 et seq.). However, it is your reasonable understanding of what abuse and neglect is that drives your need to report.  Therefore, it is safe to say that if you think it is child abuse or neglect, then it must be reported.

A mandated reporter must make a report “whenever the mandated reporter, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, has knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect.” (CA Penal Code § 11166(a)) 

In general, a suspicion of child abuse or neglect is reasonable if another individual in a like position, with similar education, training, and experience would come to the same conclusion. Simply put, you must report abuse according to the law if you, in your capacity as a BookNook tutor, discovers or reasonably suspects child abuse or neglect has occurred. 


Reporting Procedures

Each state has laws and procedures for reporting child abuse or neglect. All states require either an oral and/or written report be made to the relevant Division of Family & Youth Services. Generally, reports include:

  • The child’s name, age;
  • The child’s address
  • Nature and extent of injury or condition observed;
  • Prior injuries and dates observed; and
  • Reporter’s name and location (not always required, but valuable to Division of Family & Youth Services)

BookNook staff or tutors, as mandated reporters, must file a mandated report with the appropriate local agencies in partnership with BookNook if they have reasonable cause to believe (either through physical observation and/or verbal disclosure) that a child is being abused or neglected, even if all of the information above is not available. 

Due to the nature of our agreements with schools, we are unable to provide our tutors with the personal information of the child. Therefore, BookNook will report the incident on a tutor’s behalf after receiving the required information below.

STEP ONE: Tutor Informs BookNook within 24 hours of witnessing potential abuse and/or neglect

  1. When abuse, neglect or a negative ideation is suspected, the quickest way to alert BookNook is by submitting a Student Incident ticket on this site. The form can also be accessed on the tutor’s Tutor Portal side menu bar on the left-hand side of the screen. 
    1. Student name/s
    2. Grade Level
    3. Date of incident
    4. Tutoring Session Time (specify time zone)District ID
    5. Class ID
    6. Your Name
    7. Synopsis of what was observed

STEP TWO: BookNook Submits the Mandated Report to the appropriate agency on behalf of the tutor.

  1. Verbal Report: BookNook Tutoring will make a report by telephone immediately, or as soon as practicably possible. By law, BookNook Tutoring can call the local police department, sheriff’s office, or the county welfare department.
  2. Written Report: BookNook Tutoring will submit the completed written report within 36 hours to the appropriate agency.
  3. Alert required individuals: Once the Mandated Report is submitted, BookNook will alert the necessary school partners. BookNook Tutoring will document all relevant information for record retention and share details with the company’s General Counsel.


Reporting Confidentiality

When reporting as a mandated reporter, you must provide your name (CA Penal Code § 11167(d)(1)). Typically, the law protects the identity of mandated reporters with a level of confidentiality, but the mandated reporter’s name will be given to those who need to know (which can include social worker(s), the minor’s attorney, the county counsel assigned to the case, etc.). The duty to support the safety and well-being of a child and report suspected abuse and neglect supersedes the concern of one’s identity being discoverable.


Mandated Reporters are Generally Immune from Liability

The law specifically grants a level of immunity from civil or criminal liability to mandated reporters who make reports of child abuse or neglect (CA Penal Code § 11172). While a mandated report must endeavor to avoid reports that make patently false accusations or recklessly disregard the truth, one should generally not worry about reporting abuse or neglect.


Liability for Failure to Report

As a mandated reporter, reporting child abuse or neglect that comes to the mandated reporter’s attention while acting in the capacity of a BookNook tutor is required. Failure to report can subject the mandated reporter to civil and criminal liability, which may include jail time and/or a fine (CA Penal Code §§ 11166(c), 11166.01(b). As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, report. 


Remember: it is a privilege to serve our students, and it is our responsibility to keep our students safe.