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Colorado Mandatory Reporter Requirements

This page provides the basic requirements associated with the Colorado mandatory-reporter law:  Wrongs to At-Risk Adults – Co Rev Stat 18-6.5 (2016).  Scroll down for more information.  If you want a deeper dive, the actual statute is here.

Learn About the Mandatory-Reporter Law

This article provides an overview of the mandatory reporter law [Wrongs to At-Risk Adults – Co Rev Stat 18-6.5 (2016)] .  It addresses the following areas:


Purpose and Scope

This statute addresses the mistreatment of adults at or over 70-years old and adults at or over 18-years old who have an intellectual and developmental disability anywhere in the state of Colorado.  Specifically, when a mandatory reporter observes the mistreatment of an at-risk elder or an at-risk adult with IDD, or when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to believe that an at-risk elder or an at-risk adult with IDD has been mistreated or is at imminent risk of mistreatment, the mandatory reporter must report the situation to a law enforcement agency where the victim or suspected victim resides not more than twenty-four hours after the observation.


Important Definitions

A solid understanding of a law always starts with the definitions.  The mandatory reporting law has a few but the three key definitions are:

Abuse:  Any of the following acts or omissions committed against an at-risk person: (a) The non=accidental infliction of bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death, (b) Confinement or restraint that is unreasonable under generally accepted care-taking standards orc(c) Subjection to sexual conduct or contact classified as a crime under this title.

At-Risk Elder: Any person who is 70-years of age or older without regard to mental capacity or ability.

At-Risk Adult with Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD): Any person who is eighteen-years of age or older and who has an onset of an intellectual and developmental disability before the person is 22 years old. An adult with IDD has an I.Q. of 70 or below and/or has significant limitations in the ability to socialize, provide self-care, or communicate. IDD includes autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, Down Syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and other disorders.


Who Are Mandatory Reporters?

Mandatory reporters include all of the following:

  • Any person providing health care or health-care related services including: general medical, surgical, nursing services, nursing specialty services, dental, vision, pharmacy, chiropractic services, physical, occupation, musical, or other therapies
  • Staff of hospital and long term care facilities engaged in admission, care, or treatment of patients
  • First responders, including: emergency medical providers, fire protection personnel, law enforcement offices, any person employed, contracted, or volunteers of any law enforcement agency, including victim advocates
  • Medical examiners and coroners
  • Code enforcement officers
  • Psychologists, addictions counselors, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and registered psychotherapists (Title 12, Article 43, C.R.S)
  • Social workers (Title 12, Article 43, C.R.S)
  • Staff of Community Centered Boards
  • Staff, consultants, or independent contractors of service agencies for persons with IDD (Section 25-27.5-102 (5), C.R.S. and Section 25.5-10-202(34), C.R.S)
  • Staff or consultants of a care facility, agency, home, or governing board (licensed or unlicensed, certified or un-certified) including long-term care facilities, home care agencies, or home health providers
  • Home health staff
  • Caretakers, staff members, employees, or consultants for a home care placement agency (Section 25-27.5-102(5), C.R.S.)
  • Persons performing case management or assistant services for at-risk adults
  • Staff of County Departments of Human Social Services
  • Staff of Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)
  • Staff of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
  • Staff of Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF)
  • Staff of senior centers or senior outreach and research organizations
  • Staff and staff of contracted providers of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) (except the long-term care ombudsman)
  • Employees, consultants, or volunteers that provide transportation services for at-risk adults
  • Court appointed guardians and conservators
  • School personnel at schools serving persons in preschool through 12th grade
  • Veterinarians
  • Clergy (pursuant to Section 13-90-109(1)(C), C.R.S.)
  • Personnel of banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other lending or financial institutions


When to Report

If you are a mandatory reporter and you witness or become aware that an at-risk elder or at-risk adult with IDD has been or is at imminent risk for mistreatment (abuse, caretaker neglect, or exploitation), you must make a report to law-enforcement within 24-hours.


How to Report

Report directly to the law-enforcement agency in the same jurisdiction as the victim.  Have as much information as possible about the at-risk elder or at-risk adult with IDD, the alleged perpetrator, and what is concerning you.  At a minimum, law enforcement will need the following information:

  • Name and address of the at-risk elder or at-risk adult with IDD
  • A description of the alleged mistreatment and the situation; what did you observe?
  • What is the nature and extent of the injury?
  • Who is the alleged perpetrator with their name and address if possible
  • Any other information that you feel is relevant

Other information that will be helpful to provide when making the report includes:

  • What prompted the call today?  Did something happen?
  • How is the adult being mistreated?  When did you last see the adult?
  • Does the adult have any medical or physical conditions that impair the adult’s ability to provide for day-to-day needs?
  • Does the adult have a diagnosed mental illness or show signs of a mental illness?
  • Does the adult have any problems with memory, decision making, or understanding how to care for him/herself?
  • Does the adult have any developmental, intellectual, or cognitive disability that is impairing the ability for self-care?
  • Has there been any decline in the adult’s ability to adequately do cooking, shopping, using available transportation, managing medications, or mobility?
  • Is the adult working with any service providers to address his/her needs?  Any friends or family that are supportive?
  • Have any actions been taken yet that address your concerns?


Failure to Report and False Reporting

As long as you make the report in good faith you are immune from any criminal charges or a civil lawsuit for damages. You are not immune if you are the perpetrator of the mistreatment

If you knowingly make a false report or willfully fail to make a report of mistreatment it is a class 3 Misdemeanor.  If charged and convicted you could receive a fine of up to $750, or six months in jail, or both.

It’s okay to report if you just suspect something is wrong.  Mandatory reporters are not investigators.  If you have concerns, report and have a professional decide for sure.


IMPORTANT - This website is not a reporting site for abuse or mistreatment. Do not report using this site. Please contact the law enforcement agency where the client resides to make a report. Failure to properly report a situation to local law-enforcement in a timely fashion will result in delays that may cause further injury or financial loss to the victim.

Colorado Mandatory Reporter Quick Links

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