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Trial Court Decision Could Place Abused Children at Higher Risk and Remove Good Faith Immunity Protections for Mandated Reporters
Posted on: 12/4/2019
Sad Child

A recent trial court decision paves the way to improperly change the interpretation of Illinois’ Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) and, if allowed to stand, would include these modifications to the law:

  • Instead of professionals reporting child abuse when there is “reasonable cause,” using their experience and expertise to inform their decision whether or not to report, they would be required to report abuse for any cause, or even mere suspicion. This would further overwhelm an already overloaded agency, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), with unreasonable reports of alleged child abuse.

  • Good faith immunity protections written into the law would no longer apply, subjecting physicians to lawsuits even when they act in good faith. 

These potential interpretations of the law arise from a case in which a jury returned a $48 million verdict against a board-certified child abuse pediatrician.

ISMS was joined by eight other organizations and filed an amicus brief in the case of Mercado v. Rosado, conveying to the Illinois First District Appellate Court that these changes to the law would result in over-reporting of child abuse and divert resources away from children who truly are experiencing abuse. The brief also points out that lawmakers purposely included a section in ANCRA stating that good faith is presumed “except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct.”

The amicus brief urges the appellate court to overturn the trial court ruling.

If you have questions, contact the ISMS Legal Division at 800-782-4767 ext. 6485 or send an email.

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