Alabama bill puts attention on child abuse

Alabama State Capitol
(Associated Press File Photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Legislature is expanding the types of occupations that are required to report cases of suspected child abuse.

Current law requires doctors, social workers, nurses, day care workers, teachers, and others to report suspected abuse. A bill by Republican Rep. Dickie Drake of Leeds adds physical therapists, all public and private K-12 employees, and employees of public and private institutions of postsecondary and higher education to the list of mandatory reporters. The House passed the bill in April and the Senate approved it Thursday without a dissenting vote. The bill now goes to the governor.

Democratic Sen. Vivian David Figures of Mobile says the bill is a great advance in protecting children.

The bill also provides misdemeanor penalties for employers who discipline or penalize employees for reporting suspected abuse.

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