As knowledge and understanding of child abuse increased over time, it became evident that professionals other than physicians might also be in a position to identify child maltreatment. This led to a substantial increase in the number of professional groups designated in state laws as mandated reporters. The definition of child abuse has also expanded to include other forms of child maltreatment that must be reported.

The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) was passed in 1980. It can be found in the California Penal Code (P.C.), sections 11164-11174.3. CANRA provides definitions, procedures for reporting suspected abuse, and protections as well as liabilities for mandated reporters. Sections of the Education Code (E.C.) also provide procedures for school personnel reporting suspected abuse.

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