(April 16) – A bill that will expand the mandatory reporting of child abuse list passed the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee by a vote of 12 to one.
SB13-220, sponsored in the House by Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), will promote child safety by requiring emergency medical technicians and paramedics to be mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. EMTs and paramedics are often the first professionals to observe an abused or neglected child and are more likely to see a child under the age of five than teachers. Early detection and reporting of abuse and neglect can prevent ongoing abuse or neglect and may prevent child fatalities.
“How we respond to reporting child abuse is very important,” Rep. Fields told the committee. “Emergency Medical Service Providers have asked us to put this in statute so that they have the authority and the mandate to report child abuse. They want to own that responsibility, and I think that’s a good thing. They are the folks at the scene; they are the boots on the ground. They’re seeing and hearing things that maybe a physician or a teacher may not have heard. I applaud those on this committee for their leadership in passing this bill.”
Representatives from the Division of Child Welfare within the Department of Human Services and the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado testified in favor of the bill. The bill now goes on to the House floor for a full vote.