Anonymous reporting of child abuse and neglect is ideologically tolerated. One argument claims that since this is such a sensitive accusation and could even be dangerous for the reporter if their identity was disclosed, the law should err on the side of caution by allowing the practice of completely barring any cross examination of the person who reported the suspected abuse or neglect. Reporters can, and do, file reports then just walk away without understanding the full affect of what the “suggestion of a possibility” will really do to a family. Since most state laws require ANYONE who has a suspicion to report it (or be possibly charged with the crime of failing to report), the concept has created a convenient weaponization of Child Welfare.
The System is obligated to investigate a report no matter how far-fetched or impossible it is; furthermore, that accusation against a family, whether actually investigated (some systems allow for non-investigated administrative closures), whether substantiated, or whether ruled out as false, STILL REMAIN FOREVER IN THE DATA SYSTEM. Thus, anyone can maliciously and serially, make false reports that can, and DO, eventually get duplicated into court paperwork, filings, and reports in family court cases. As a parent you have NO RIGHT to even know what type of data through Intake reports is being kept in the system about you and for possible future use against you. If you never knew it existed, how could you fight to correct it or argue for its deletion? This is a huge DUE PROCESS issue and the practice must be halted. Anonymous reporting also deprives a person of the right to face their accuser.
The answer is Confidential Reporting. This practice utilizes enough anonymity protection for the reporter by allowing their information to be kept private; however, it requires some form of identification so that false reports can be screened out and makes the Intake process able to establish patterns of abuse of the system. This allows for Malicious reporters to be prosecuted and might deter them from using CPS reports for punishment or retaliation purposes. Confidential Reporting creates a balance between Due Process for parents being accused, proper investigating of legitimate suspicions of abuse and neglect, and the need for sensitivity and risk protection of reporters.