Under Governor’s Executive Order #54 (EO 54), all UW System employees are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect and have an obligation to report directly to the authorities. At UW–Madison, this mandate includes volunteers and contractors working on behalf of the university.

As an employee, volunteer, or contractor, it is critical that you understand your obligation to report, what to report, and how to report. The information on this page is only an overview.

Online training: To better understand your role as a mandated reporter, complete the Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect (OYP) online training. For volunteers without a NetID the Mandated Reporter Online training is available.

Why must I report?

Requirements for Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

In accordance with the University of Wisconsin–Madison Policy on Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect, all UW–Madison employees (under Wisconsin Executive Order #54, or EO 54), are required to immediately report child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services (CPS) or law enforcement if, in the course of employment, the employee observes an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, or learns of an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, and the employee has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur. Volunteers and contractors working for UW–Madison sponsored programs or activities are also expected to report suspected abuse or neglect.

A UW–Madison employee who is a mandatory reporter under Wis. Stat. 48.981(2)(a) shall comply with the requirements of the state mandatory reporter law while working in their professional role.

Services and Protection

Deciding to get involved in a situation of suspected abuse or neglect can be difficult. It is, however, a decision that may be crucial to a child not only today, but also in the future.

Caregivers or maltreaters who have abused or neglected their children may need services and support to provide safe care for their children. The sooner an issue is reported, the sooner the child can be helped.

No UW–Madison employee making a report of suspected child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services or law enforcement, in good faith, may be discharged from employment, disciplined, or otherwise discriminated against in regard to employment, or threatened with any such treatment, for so doing.

What do I report?

Definition of Child:

For purposes of reporting child abuse and neglect, a “child” is a person who is less than 18 years of age.

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Physical Abuse

Definition: Physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means. Physical injury includes, but is not limited to, lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe or frequent bruising, or great bodily harm.

Signs of physical abuse

  • bruises and welts
  • injuries in the shape of an object (e.g., a belt or cord)
  • unexplained burns on palms, soles of feet, back
  • fractures that do not fit the story of how an injury occurred
  • delay in seeking medical help
  • extremes in behavior: very aggressive or withdrawn and shy
  • afraid to go home
  • frightened of parents
  • fearful of other adults

Sexual Abuse

Definition: Sexual intercourse or sexual touching of a child; recording or displaying of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct; forcing a child to view or listen to sexual activity; exposing genitals or pubic area to a child or exposing a child’s genitals or pubic area for purposes of sexual gratification; or permitting, allowing, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution.

Signs of sexual abuse

  • pain, swelling or itching in genital area
  • bruises, bleeding, discharge in genital area
  • difficulty walking or sitting, frequent urination, pain
  • stained or bloody underclothing
  • venereal disease
  • refusal to take part in gym or other exercises
  • poor peer relationships
  • unusual interest in sex for age
  • drastic change in school achievement
  • runaway or delinquent
  • regressive or childlike behavior

Note: Sexual abuse does not include consensual sexual contact with anyone 16-17 years old.

Emotional Abuse

Definition: “Emotional damage” for which the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable, for reasons other than poverty, to obtain the necessary treatment or take steps to improve the symptoms.

Emotional Damage

Definition: Harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning which is exhibited by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggression. Emotional damage may be demonstrated by substantial and observable changes in behavior, emotional response, or learning which are incompatible with the child’s age or stage of development.

Signs of emotional damage

  • low self-esteem
  • self-denigration
  • severe depression
  • aggression
  • withdrawal
  • severe anxiety


Definition: When a parent or caretaker fails, refuses, or is unable, for reasons other than poverty, to provide the necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care, or shelter, which seriously endangers the physical health of the child.

Signs of neglect

  • poor hygiene, odor
  • inappropriately dressed for weather
  • needs medical or dental care
  • left alone, unsupervised for long periods
  • failure to thrive, malnutrition
  • constant hunger, begs or steals food
  • extreme willingness to please
  • frequent absence from school
  • arrives early and stays late at school or play areas or other people’s homes

Threatened Abuse or Neglect

Threatened abuse or neglect refers to behaviors or conditions a child is exposed to that are dangerous to the child and likely to result in abuse or neglect.

Signs of threatened abuse or neglect

Identify behaviors or conditions that are dangerous or becoming dangerous to a child. Consider the possibility of threatened abuse or neglect when you observe or become aware of the following:

  • Minor injuries that are cause for concern, including bruising on a non-mobile child; bruising or scrapes to vulnerable parts of a child’s body; or an escalating pattern of corporal punishment that increases in severity or frequency.
  • Exposure to violence, even if a child has not yet been injured, when there is domestic violence or a violent person in the home.
  • Exposure to dangerous people or situations, including previous abusers or criminal activity.
  • An impaired caregiver, when there is no one else in the home to provide necessary care or protection.

Abuse as manufacturing of methamphetamine

Definition: The criminal manufacture of methamphetamines is defined as child abuse when it is done under any of the following circumstances:

  • A child is present.
  • It is manufactured in a child’s home, on the premises of a child’s home, or in a motor vehicle on the premises of a child’s home.
  • It is manufactured under any other circumstances where a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child.

Signs of exposure to methamphetamine manufacture

Consider the possibility of meth manufacture in a child’s environment when you see or become aware of the following in a child, particularly in combination:

  • painful or burning eyes or eye irritation
  • skin irritation and redness or burns
  • sneezing and chronic coughing, congestion, or fever
  • chest pain, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
  • vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea
  • headaches
  • rapid heart rate
  • jaundice or dark-colored urine
  • extreme irritability

How Do I Report?

If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

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How to Report Child Abuse or Neglect

If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

Contact your county social/human services department, sheriff, local police department, or university police department immediately—by telephone or in person.

UW–Madison Police Department
608-264-COPS or 608-264-2677

Madison Police Department

Non-Emergency Dispatcher: 608-255-2345

Dane County Child Protective Services (CPS)
Office hours: 608-261-KIDS or 608-261-5437
After hours: 608-255-6067

Contact CPS in other Wisconsin Counties
Child Protective Services Agency Contact Information

Interpretation Services

If you need language interpretation services to ask questions about your duty to report, request training, or provide an additional campus report, please contact UW–Madison Police Department, the Madison Police Department, or Dane County Child Protective Services.

Additional Campus Reporting Requirement

You fulfill your legal obligation under EO 54 when you report to local law enforcement or CPS. In some cases, you must also make an internal campus report. Find instructions in the Additional Campus Reporting Requirement panel below.

What to Report

If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

Reports must be given immediately by telephone or in person to law enforcement or Child Protective Services (CPS)—no voicemail or email. Child Protective Services will not disclose information about who made a report unless they are court ordered.

Explain, as well as you can, what happened or is happening to the child. Describe the nature of the abuse or neglect and the involved parties. Be as specific as possible. Be prepared to give the name, address, and telephone number of the child and also the name of the parent or caregiver, if known. Even if you do not know all of this information, report what you do know. Tell all you know about the situation.

Privacy Laws

If you learn about abuse or neglect from an education record of a matriculated student, a medical record, or from a patient in a healthcare setting, various privacy laws may affect your ability to make a report to CPS or law enforcement. If you have questions about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or state medical records laws, please contact UW-Madison Office of Legal Affairs at 608-263-7400.

Additional Campus Reporting Requirement

In addition to notifying Child Protective Services or law enforcement, the reporter must also make an internal report to campus if either of the following apply:

  • The incident or threat of child abuse or neglect involves an allegation against a university employee or an agent of the university (e.g. a student or volunteer).
  • The incident or threat of child abuse or neglect occurred on the UW–Madison campus or during a UW–Madison sponsored activity.

Report to UWPD

Report in person or by telephone to UW–Madison Police Department (available 24 hours).
608-264-COPS or 608-264-2677

Training and Resources

Online Training

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect (OYP) is required for UW–Madison employees and volunteers who work in youth programs and is recommended for all employees who interact with minors. This course is offered as a partnership between OYP and the Office of Human Resources.

This course takes 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

If you have a UW NetID, complete the Canvas Course based version, titled: “Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect (OYP).

Enroll in Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect (OYP)

If you do NOT have a UW NetID, complete the WordPress based version, titled: “Wisconsin Mandated Reporter Online Training.” Make sure you
select the UW System option.

Enroll in Wisconsin Mandated Reporter Online Training


You may ask questions about your duty to report child abuse or neglect in order to determine if a report is necessary. However, do not delay making a report in order to wait for answers. If you are unsure about making a report, please contact either of the following:

UW–Madison Police Department
608-264-2677 (available 24 hours)

Dane County Child Protective Services (CPS)
Office hours: 608-261-KIDS or 608-261-5437
After hours: 608-255-6067

If you have general questions about Mandatory Reporting training, other reporting obligations, or your responsibilities as a UW–Madison employee or volunteer, contact:

Office of Youth Protection (OYP)
Send email to

If you have questions about identifying sexual abuse of a minor, contact:

Office of Compliance
Send email to

Additional Resources

Incident Reporting


Incidents must be reported in compliance with university policy and state or federal laws. Depending on your roles and responsibilities in a youth activity, you may be required to report a variety of incidents. An incident may fit definitions in more than one category (described below). In order to meet your reporting obligations, you may need to make more than one report.

  • Mandatory Reports by Law or Policy include reporting incidents of child abuse or neglect, sexual harassment or sexual violence, and certain crimes on campus.
  • General Incidents and Campus Reports include reports to the program for incidents that don’t rise to the level of a mandatory report and reports made to campus partner offices.

General Incidents and Campus Reports

Each youth activity may have additional reporting requirements based on the sponsoring unit, physical location, type of activity, and other attributes. The person primarily responsible for operating the activity must determine applicable reporting requirements and procedures.

Program Level Incidents

Who reports: All program staff

What to report: Program level incidents include but are not limited to these examples:

  • Peer conflicts
  • Behavioral issues
  • Attendance irregularities
  • Violations of program rules
  • Incidents that do not fall under the mandatory reporting obligations listed above

How to report: Each program determines the best processes and procedures for internal record keeping.

Accidental Injury During Programming

Who reports: All program staff (Each program determines if program staff should submit a report directly to a campus partner office or to the Program Director first).

What to report: Report accidental injuries that occur during university youth activities. This does not include illness, but does include the following:

    1. Any accident/injury resulting in transportation of the participant by ambulance.
    2. Any time medical treatment beyond basic First Aid provided is needed. Examples of this include but not limited to: Lacerations requiring stitches, Broken Bones/Fractures, Concussions, Head Injuries, Fainting/Unconsciousness, Heat Exhaustion.
    3. Any time UHS recommends that the injured youth receive follow-up provider care (whether or not follow-up care was received).
    4. Any time a youth participant cannot fully participate in the youth activity due to the injury sustained during their participation.
    5. Any time a youth activity becomes aware that a youth participant sought treatment from a medical provider due to an injury sustained during their participation.

How to Report: Non-Employee Incident Report Form (within 48 hours)

[Note: In the Affiliation with UW-Madison field, please mention “Youth program participant” and the name of your youth program, e.g. “PEOPLE Program”.]

Accident Insurance: If your youth program is covered by UW System Camps & Clinics Participant Accident Insurance coverage, the Program Director should provide the following insurance documents to the injured participant/family.

    1. Claims Form
    2. Participant Claims Filing Instructions
    3. Participant Accident Insurance Program Brochure
    4. Accident insurance information sheet with insurance card


Cybersecurity Risk or Violation

Who reports: All program staff (Each program determines if program staff should submit a report directly to a campus partner office or to the Program Director first).

What to report: Examples of cybersecurity risks include compromise of sensitive data, loss or theft of a device, and violations of UW data security policies.

How to report: Find more examples and instructions for reporting at Reporting an IT Incident.