Religious Ceremonial Life: Confidential Communication for Clergy

The federal government specifies a minimum set of actions that are considered child abuse and neglect but does not set a standard for reporting responsibilities. All states include mandatory reporting laws within child welfare laws, often enumerating categories of individuals who must report child abuse. Checkmarks below indicate that a state protects the right of clergy to maintain confidentiality, either by excluding clergy from the group of mandatory reporters or by exempting clergy from the mandate when information is obtained through penitential or otherwise confidential clerical communication. Additional language below indicates whether clergy are considered mandatory reporters in the state and any exemption or exception provided to clergy within those laws. (For more about data collection on clergy as mandatory reporters, please see the details here.)

Click a column heading to sort by that column

Note on citations:
Where multiple laws are cited, the link is for the first listed. To find subsequent laws -or- in cases where a state's laws are not possible to link to directly, use the citation number to manually navigate to the statute of interest. For more precise information on citations as well as our reasoning behind each score, download the full data set which includes additional research notes.