MUST REPORT: Mandatory Reporting Laws

Two children, a 13-year old girl and 14-year old boy, were removed from an Ankeny home last month.  And their adoptive parents are facing charges.

Paul and Joann Drake are both charged with false imprisonment and neglect.  Paul Drake will make his first court appearance next month.

One of the teenagers told a teacher what was happening, and the teacher stepped in to help.

After hearing the story, the teacher had no choice but to call the Department of Human Services.

Teachers, administrators, and police officers are all considered mandatory reporters in Iowa.

If they hear or see signs of abuse, they’re required to notify the Department of Human Services.

The law was first enacted in 1978 to identify and get help for victims of child abuse and it was used extensively in 2011.

According to the Department of Human Services, there more than 30,000 reports of child abuse statewide.  More than half of those came from mandatory reporters with neglect being the most common form of child abuse statewide.

In schools, on top of mandatory reporting, all employees that work with children are required to complete child abuse education every five years.

We spoke to an administrator with the Ankeny School District.  He offers this advice to children with difficult situations at home.  He says that teachers and administrators have a responsibility to be a student’s number one ally in feeling safe.

The neglect or abandonment charges are the most serious against the Drakes. Convictions are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Attempts to contact Paul and JoAnn Drake on Wednesday were unsuccessful. When a reporter knocked on the door of their home, someone looked out the window but refused to answer the door.

Neither Drake has a significant criminal record in Iowa — one traffic ticket for Paul Drake.

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