WA House: adults must report severe child abuse



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state House has passed a bill requiring all adults to report suspected cases of severe child abuse and neglect to the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Most Democrats supported the bill, HB 2331, while most Republicans opposed it. It passed Thursday night by a vote of 59-38.

The bill would make failure to notify DSHS a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Supporters say the bill sends a message that everyone has a stake in the welfare of the state’s children. Opponents say it is overly broad and likely unenforceable.

Currently, police officers, corrections officers and certain other professionals are required to report suspected cases of severe child abuse.

The bill goes next to the Senate.