Mandatory Reporting Task Force convenes for second meeting

The Office of the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman (CPO) hosted the second meeting of the Mandatory Reporting Task Force on Wednesday as stakeholders began the process of evaluating the effectiveness of the state’s child abuse reporting law.

“Today was the first step in taking a global look at the impact mandatory reporting has had on children, families and communities across Colorado and our country,” said Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte. “At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our laws around reporting are effective in protecting children, effective in getting families the support they need and effective in providing mandatory reporters with the guidance and tools they need to properly identify and report child abuse.”

The meeting began with a review of the perspectives that task force members shared on a variety of issues during the task force’s first meeting in December.

To begin its assessment of whether Colorado’s mandatory reporting laws are effective, the group started its conversation centered on racial disproportionality in the child welfare system. Doris Tolliver, Principal with Health Management Associates, presented state and national data on the disparate impact of mandatory reporting on communities of color, under-resourced communities and persons with disabilities. The group discussed the unintentional harms often associated with mandatory reporting, as well as current work being done to mitigate those impacts.

A panel comprised of guest professionals and task force members presented their research, experiences working in the child welfare system and perspectives on issues with current mandatory reporting laws. The panel included former United States Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner, Dr. Ida Drury  and Executive Director Dr. Kathi Wells of The Kempe Center, and Casey Family Programs Senior Director of Strategic Consulting Crystal Ward Allen.

Meeting 13 times over two years, the task force is reviewing national best practices and consulting with numerous experts, researchers and people with lived experience. In January 2025, a final report of findings and recommendations will be submitted to the General Assembly, Governor’s Office and Colorado Department of Human Services.

A recording of the complete meeting will be made available on the CPO’s Mandatory Reporting Task Force page:

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. (MST), on April 5, 2023, and will be open to the public via Zoom.