Lawmakers to Discuss Child Abuse Reporting

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JEFFERSON CITY - In light of the Penn State scandal, Missouri lawmakers are tackling child abuse reporting once again Wednesday.

The House Children and Families Committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday morning on a bill that would expand the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse.

Under current law, which hasn't been updated since 1975, only teachers, nurses, members of the clergy and a few other professions are legally obligated to report child abuse. The proposed bill would expand that list to include coaches, scout leaders, youth leaders and any volunteers that have direct contact with children.

In January, lawmakers heard testimony on a Senate bill of a similar topic but with a more limited scope. That bill would make it illegal for any regular citizen to witness child sexual abuse to not report it.