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Child abuse is a reality of our society. Child abuse includes physical injury which is inflicted on a child by other than accidental means, sexual exploitation or assault and child neglect.  Out of concern for abused children and their families, California State Law requires that known or reasonable suspected incidents of child abuse must be reported immediately, or as soon as practically possible by telephone to a child protective agency* by a child care custodian or health practitioner.  A "child care custodian" includes a pastor in his role as ex officio administrative officer of the parish school, a teacher, a principal, a teacher's aide and an administrator of day camps.  A "health practitioner" includes a social worker, a psychologist, a licensed nurse and marriage, family and child counselor.  "Reasonable suspicion" means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse.  After the initial report by telephone, a written report must be sent to the child protective agency within thirty-six hours of receiving information concerning the incident. For the purpose of this reporting statute, "child" means a person under the age of eighteen years.​

A Child Protective Agency: A child protective agency is defined as a police or sheriff's department, probation or county welfare department.  In Los Angeles County, for example, the appropriate child protective agency would be either the Los Angeles County Department of Children Services or the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the area where the abuse occurred.  In most cases this is where the child resides.