In New York, only 25% of mandated reports are substantiated. For referral from educators, the substation rate is much lower, at 16%. Trying to deal with that overreporting rate, which child welfare authorities admit comes with intrusive and often damaging investigations, New York recently rolled out new training. The aim is to strike a balance between protecting children and minimizing unnecessary investigations.
Unfortunately, the incentive structure for mandated reporters remains unchanged. Failure to report can still result in criminal penalties and prosecution. This creates a challenging environment for professionals who fear the potential consequences of not reporting, even in cases where it may not be necessary. The effectiveness of the new training programs in reducing over-reporting is yet to be determined. Only time will tell whether these initiatives can successfully address the fear of prosecution and encourage a more balanced approach to reporting.