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S24-505 The Complicated Ethical Context of Making Required Reports of Harm

Total Credits: 6 including 6 Ethic CEs

500 Ethics
Gisele Ferretto, LCSW-C
Course Levels:
7 Hours 30 Minutes
Target Audience:
Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists



Recent changes in the laws as well as current national and local discussions have resulted in confusion and licensing complaints regarding the mandated reporting of suspected child maltreatment, vulnerable adults, and imminent harm. This workshop will update participants on these changes in both criminal and civil laws concerning suspected maltreatment and harm. Content will address the complex legal, ethical, and therapeutic issues that arise when making required reports of suspected maltreatment, alternative response and investigative responses, confidentiality, and rights of clients. Content will also explore the complex issue of making reports when an adult discloses that they were maltreated as a child. Content will include COMAR 10.42.03 Code of Ethics and the laws governing mandated reporting.   



Gisele Ferretto, LCSW-C Related Seminars and Products

University of Maryland School of Social Work

Gisele Ferretto, MSW, LCSW-C has over 35 years of social work experience in both clinical and macro practice areas. Her areas of expertise include: policy, professional ethics, supervision and leadership, confidentiality, social work and field practicum education, child welfare practice, and curriculum development. Ms. Ferretto provides consultation and training for private and public agencies in her areas of expertise. She has served on various committees and boards at the local, state, and national level, developing policy and program initiatives.     

Currently, Ms. Ferretto is on the Faculty at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) and serves as Director of Public Policy and Manager of Training for the Office of Field Education. During her tenure at the SSW, she has held positions in the Office of Field Education, Child Welfare Fellowship Program, Child Welfare Academy, Family Connections Baltimore, and Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS). Prior to her time at the SSW, she served as an administrator at the Maryland Department of Human Services in the following programs: Child Protective Services, Office of Equal Opportunity, and the Office of Staff Development and Training. Ms. Ferretto began her social work career as a Child Protective Services Worker at Baltimore City Department of Social Services. 

Agenda & Learning Objectives


8:50 am Log on 


 9:00 am             

Historical and Ethical Context of Mandated Reporting  

  • Strategies for Minimizing Risk  

  • Activity: Maltreatment Reflection 

  • Professional Licensing Statutes and Regulations Regarding Ethics & Reporting 

  • Identification of Ethical Issues Related to Reporting 

  • Required Reports & Legal Duties of Professional Helpers  


BREAK: 10:45 am to 11:00 am 


Reporting Harm of Self or Others 

  • Duty to Warn/ Duty of Care 

  • Extreme Risk Prevention Protection Orders 

  • Petition for Emergency Evaluation 


Legal Definitions of Harm to Vulnerable Adults 

  • Abuse 

  • Exploitation 

  • Neglect 

  • Self-Neglect 


LUNCH: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm  


1:00 pm 

Legal Definitions of Child Maltreatment  

  • Child Physical Abuse 

  • Child Sexual Abuse and Substantial Risk of Sexual Abuse 

  • Child Neglect, including law concerning children left unattended 

  • Child Mental Injury (Mental Injury Abuse and Mental Injury Neglect)  


BREAK: 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm  


3:00 pm  

Reporting Suspected Child Maltreatment 

  • Reporting Requirements (Who, When, How, Immunity) 

  • Professional Sanctions for Failing to Report 

  • Recent changes to reporting law 

  • What Happens After a Report is Made 

    • CPS Responses: Alternative Response or Investigative Response 

    • Reporting When the Individual is No Longer a Child (Opinion of the Attorney General No.93-049)             


Adjournment and Evaluations: 4:30 pm   



Upon the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish the elements and legal terms which define child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, child neglect, mental injury, substantial risk of sexual abuse, abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, duty to warn, and imminent harm.    

  • Apply ethical concepts and current statute when making reports concerning suspected child maltreatment, vulnerable adults, and imminent harm.   

  • Learn reporting requirements, including reporting when the individual is no longer a child, and the elements of the investigative and alternative responses.   

  • Evaluate their practice when faced with the ethical requirements of mandated reporters while establishing and maintaining therapeutic relationships and respecting cultural diversity.   

Bibliography & References



Maryland Statutes reviewed: from Maryland General Assembly/ Related Links/LexisNexis  

  • Family Law Article §5-704.1 (substantial risk of sexual abuse) 

  • Family Law §5-704 (reporting child maltreatment) 

  • Family Law §14-302 (reporting vulnerable adults)     

  • Courts and Judicial Proceedings §5-609 ( Duty to Warn)  

  • Public Safety § 5–601 through 5–610: (Extreme Risk Prevention Protective Orders) 

  • Health-General § 10-622 (Petition for Emergency Evaluation) 


Maryland Regulations reviewed from  

COMAR 10.42.03 Code of Ethics Social Work BSWE  

COMAR 07.02.07 Child Abuse and Neglect 

COMAR 07.02.16 Adult Protective Services 


Maryland Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services:  


Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children &Families, Children’s Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway  


Allnock D, Kiff J (2023) 'Listening to children and young people's experiences of disclosing child sexual abuse: insights for the proposed mandatory reporting duty in England and Wales'. London: NSPCC. 


Reamer, F. G. (2023). Risk management in the Behavioral Health Professions: A Practical Guide to preventing malpractice and licensing-board complaints. Columbia University Press. 


Kristyn Kamke, Tara M. Mullin, Kimberly L. Goodman (2023) Barriers to Seeking Medical Care Among Youth Victims of Sexual Violence, Journal of Adolescent Health, ISSN  1054-139X,  


Dubowitz H, Barth RP. (2023) Seeking a Balanced View of Child Protective Services. JAMA Pediatr. 2023; 177(10):991–992. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2023.2578  


Thomas, R., & Reeves, M. (2023) Mandatory Notification Laws. National Library of Medicine, StatPearls Publishing LLC. 

Course Completion & CE Information

Category I Maryland BSWE Requirement

The Office of Continuing Professional Education at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs. This workshop qualifies for {6} Category I Continuing Education Units for ethics. The Office of Continuing Professional Education is also authorized by the Maryland Board of Psychologists and the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors to sponsor Category A continuing professional education.

Please refer to the tab "Live Interactive Webinar Policies & FAQs" for UMSSW Office of CPE policies regarding all live interactive webinar related matters.

Target Audience

Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists

We welcome anyone interested in the topic!


Late Fees and Refunds

The base price is $130 and includes CE credit. A non-refundable late fee of $20 is added on June 14, 2024

Cancellations** must be received 24 hours in advance prior to the workshop to receive a refund or an account credit.

Late fees cannot be refunded or applied to  account credit. 

**ALL cancellations will be subjected to a $35.00 administration fee.**

Live Interactive Webinar Platforms


The Office of Continuing Professional Education hosts Live Interactive Webinars through two platforms: Zoom and WebEx.

Both platforms offer high quality and user-friendly webinar platforms for our registrants.


System Requirements:

  • Operating Systems: Windows XP or higher; MacOS 9 or higher; Android 4.0 or higher.
  • Internet Browser: Google Chrome; Firefox 10.0 or higher.

Our system is not compatible with the Safari web browser.

  • Broadband Internet Connection: Cable, High-speed DSL and any other medium that is internet accessible.

**Please have your device charging at all times to ensure that your device does not lose power during the webinar.


Course Interaction Requirements:

To participate in Live Interactive Webinars, you MUST have a device that allows you to view the presentation on screen and hear the instructor at all times. We do not allow participants to call-in from their phones or mobile devices and solely listen to the presentation. Participation in Live Interactive Webinars is mandatory.

Webinar Policies & FAQs

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ADA Accommodations

If you are requesting ADA accommodations, please contact our office via email at least two weeks prior to the workshop date. Requests after that date may not be fulfilled.  

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