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Texas Duty to Report Suspected Abuse and Neglect of Minors

Nov. 15, 2012

Baylor University plays host to a number of events and facilities on its campus at which minors are present. University employees who obtain knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect are legally required to report it immediately to the appropriate authorities. Texas' disclosure laws apply to all individuals, including health care professionals, chaplain staff, and counselors.

Texas law specifies that anyone who "suspects" child abuse or neglect report it immediately to either (1) a local or state law enforcement agency; or (2) Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services. Licensed professionals or staff employed at Baylor's Piper Child Development Center must report the suspected child abuse or neglect within 48 hours. It is not sufficient to report the incident to another Baylor employee, such as a dean, a supervisor or manager. Failure to make a report is a crime in Texas, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.

Texas' definitions of "abuse" and "neglect are defined very broadly and include most threats to a child's physical or mental health or welfare. Texas law does not require injuries resulting from an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent or guardian that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm.

Texas law protects a person acting in good faith who makes a report of child abuse or neglect which does not arise from their own conduct.

To make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect occurring on the Baylor campus or at a Baylor activity, contact the Baylor University Police Department. All other reports may be made through local law enforcement or the Texas Statewide Intake Service hotline 1-800-252-5400. If a child is in immediate danger, please call 911.

Baylor's Office of General Counsel has prepared a more detailed Compliance Information Sheet for use by employees dealing with minors, including compliance requirements for camps utilizing Baylor's facilities.