Theses Bachelor's

“Deputized Agents:” An Analysis of State Training Curricula for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

Choi, Claire

In the United States, Black children are disproportionately the subjects of reports to child protective services, investigated by child welfare agents, and removed from their families. In order to identify where disproportionalities originate or are reproduced, it is necessary to critically examine the point at which children first enter the system: the report.

The majority of calls to child protective services are made by “mandated reporters,” individuals from the educational, medical, and other professions legally obligated to report suspicions of child maltreatment to child protective services. Under federal law, mandated reporters must receive proper training to fulfill their responsibilities, though there is wide discrepancy in what such training entails, and research indicates that mandated reporters frequently overreport and may be influenced by racial and socio-economic biases.

Thus, this thesis examines the role that state mandated reporter training curricula, by shaping the critical decisions to involve families in the child welfare system, may play in producing racially disproportionate patterns of reporting. I analyze the content of twenty different state-produced and state-sponsored mandated reporter training curricula alongside levels of disproportionality of Black children’s involvement in the studied states’ child welfare systems. I additionally examine the data collected across all studied states to identify where gaps collectively lie in material included in mandated reporter training curricula.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Holland, Tracey M.
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
October 4, 2023