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Mandated reporting laws are pertinent to practitioners of “helping professions,” such as social workers, doctors, nurses, and teachers. These laws dictate that a professional or student in those fields must report suspected child maltreatment to the state for investigation. The report, as well as the investigation that follows, has the potential to result in removal and separation of children from their parents or caretakers. The child welfare system of which mandated reporting is a component has a cruel history of racism and white supremacy, as well as prejudice towards those experiencing poverty, disabilities, mental health concerns, homelessness, and substance use disorders. This research examines the disproportionate harm the child welfare system has on Black and Brown individuals, particularly in New York, and how the system has used mandated reporting laws to further marginalize oppressed communities since the 1970s. This research indicates the need to comprehensively reimagine the erroneously named “child welfare system” starting with repealing mandated reporting laws in the United States.
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