Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2008, section 97 amended section 51A of Massachusetts General Law (MGL), Chapter 119 by adding subsection (k); "A mandated reporter who is professionally licensed by the commonwealth shall complete training to recognize and report suspected child abuse or neglect". The revised law is effective January 1, 2010. The Board has received a significant number of inquiries from individual nurses and professional organizations inquiring about the impact revised MGL, chapter 119, section 51A(k) will have on their licensure renewal and their contact hour requirements. In response to their multiple inquiries, Board staff contacted the Department of Child and Family Services (DCF) to request that they clarify the expectations of the amended law. Until the Board receives additional guidance from DCF, there is no change in the Board's license renewal process or continuing education requirements.
In Board staff communication with DCF, the following information was conveyed:
- Nurses receive training in child abuse or neglect assessment in their generic education.
- The Board's regulation at CMR 9.03(6)(a)(17) specifically affirms the licensed nurse's obligation to report child abuse and references MGL Chapter 119, Section 51A.
- At the time of renewal, licensed nurses attest that they have complied with mandatory reporting laws including "obligations to report the abuse or neglect of children (MGL c.119, s. 51A)".
This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.