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Application and Update on the Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting Task Force

July 26, 2023

In September 2022, Safe & Sound released an issue brief proposing recommendations that will build strong communities that help keep children safe and families together. Over the last year, Safe & Sound has been playing an important leadership role in the statewide effort to shift from reporting families into systems, to safely supporting families in the communities where they can thrive.

We invite you to join this effort by applying for the Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting (MRCS) Task Force through the English or Spanish language links below.

Dear Child, Family, and Community Well-Being Partners,

We are excited to connect with you today about California’s commitment to build communities that keep children and youth safe and families together. Specifically, California has approved the formation of a Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting (MRCS) Task Force to help realize this commitment.

This communication provides information on the purpose, progress, and next steps of the MRCS Task Force. We invite you to learn more, and to share this information broadly, as we all have a role to play in building communities that keep children safe and families together.

What we are working toward
The need for change in the mandated reporting system is evidenced in the large volume of reports to child protection hotlines each year that ultimately end up being screened out, unsubstantiated, or included as allegations of general neglect only. The negative impact of overreporting is most significant for Black/African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latino/a children and families who are disproportionately represented in these reports, and in the child welfare system overall.

On March 13, 2023, the California Child Welfare Council (CWC) unanimously approved a set of Community Pathway Recommendations with the following goals:

  • Reform the state’s mandated reporting system so children and families are safely supported in their communities. You may start to hear about this as Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting.
  • Build strong and connected community supports that understand, connect to, and enhance the natural strengths of every family. You may start to hear about this as Building a Community Pathway.

Achieving these two goals requires working side-by-side with individuals and families with lived experience and expertise to transform current mandated reporting practices and policies, build community support networks, and equip mandated reporters with tools and information to change their practices.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, clearly stated California’s commitment to transform the state’s mandated reporting system following the unanimous vote by the Child Welfare Council when he said,

“This will take a reorientation of both mindset and how people work—how we invest in the work, and invest in the people who do the work. This is not just an average vote that we turn our backs on. This is a vote with a commitment that we all stay involved and support a mindset shift to make this happen.”

Progress to date
Recommendation #1 of the set of Community Pathway Recommendations approved on March 13th calls for the implementation of a statewide Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting Task Force. The work of the Task Force has been underway since early April through regular meetings of the Task Force Working Group, brought together and led by Co-Chairs, Dana Blackwell and Roger De Leon.  

The Working Group members represent the individuals and organizations that were involved in developing and advancing the original set of mandated reporting reform recommendations and include:

We are interviewing key stakeholders and planning listening sessions with a broad group of individuals who have proximity to the practice and impact of mandated reporting. Inquiry and research will be a constant part of our process over the life of the MRCS Task Force as we work toward a set of recommendations targeted for June 2024.

What’s next—and how you can join us
We acknowledge the urgency for change and we seek to partner with individuals and groups who have proximity to the mandated reporter system through their personal and/or professional experience and expertise. Our goal is to inform and advance this work with those most impacted by the current system, and those who have the greatest ability to change it.

The next step is to build out the MRCS Task Force and subcommittee membership. If you are interested in participating on the MRCS Task Force, or one of its subcommittees, please complete the application. Submission deadline is August 9, 2023, 5:00pm (PDT). Members will be selected before the end of August.

We are committed to engaging an active and expert group of people who share our passion for seizing this historical moment to reform the mandated reporting system and safely narrow the front door to child welfare.

Please share this email and link to your networks to help support California’s commitment to building communities that keep children and youth safe, and families together.

Roger De Leon Jr.
Co-Chair, MRCS Task Force
Child Welfare Council Member
Parent Partner, Fatherhood Advocate, Professional with Lived Expertise

Dana E. Blackwell
Co-Chair, MRCS Task Force
Child Welfare Council Member
Senior Director, CA Strategic Consultation, Casey Family Programs

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