PLEASE NOTE! Child abuse cannot be reported here! Please scroll down to find the appropriate child abuse reporting number categorized by states! If you are being abused please contact your local authorities or call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Suspected abuse MUST be reported immediately according to the law. Failure to report suspected child abuse is a crime! This site is for educational purposes only!
Reporting Child Abuse
CLICK HERE for your FREE online tutorial on child abuse reporting
For information on how to report child abuse in your state, click on your state from the list below, or scroll down to find your state & child abuse reporting hotline number. For most states, we provide the name of the responsible state agency, the corresponding state statutes, plus agency websites and phone numbers as available. (READ MORE HERE)
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WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED
What is child abuse?
Although there are many formal and acceptable definitions of child abuse, the following is offered as a guide for information on child abuse and neglect.
Child abuse consists of any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse includes any damage done to a child which cannot be reasonably explained and which is often represented by an injury or series of injuries appearing to be non-accidental in nature.
What do I do if I think someone is abusing a child?
- DO NOT
• Ask leading questions
• Make promises
• Notify the parents or the caretaker
• Provide a safe environment (be comforting, welcoming, and a good listener).
• Tell the child it was not his/her fault
• Listen carefully
• Document the child’s exact quotes
• Be supportive, not judgmental
• Know your limits
• Tell the truth and make no promises
• Ask ONLY four questions
• What happened?
• Who did this to you?
• Where were you when this happened?
• When did this happen?
• Asking any additional questions may contaminate a case!
- Report it!
• Call your local law enforcement agency
• Call your local Child Protective Services Agency
• Call the 24-Hour Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline
What if a child tells me about abuse?
- Remain calm and refrain from expressing shock.
- Listen attentively to what the child has to say, but do not solicit details or ask probing questions. It is very important for the professionals to talk to the child and obtain the details of the alleged abuse in the child’s own words.
- Speak softly, using simple words and sentences. Use the child’s vocabulary.
- Tell the child that you believe him/her and that they did the right thing by telling.
- Let the child know that what happened was not the child’s fault, no matter what. Tell the child that he/she did nothing to cause it to happen.
- Be careful about overly criticizing the offender. The child might care about that person and only wants the abuse to stop. It might be helpful to explain that the person needs help because what he/she did is “not okay.”
- Let the child know that you plan to call some people who will try to help.
- A Department of Human Services (DHS) supervisor screens the report of child abuse to determine whether the allegation meets the statutory definition of abuse and neglect and whether the report falls within DHS’ responsibility.DHS is mandated to investigate allegations of abuse perpetrated by a caretaker. If the alleged abuse is someone other than a caretaker, DHS is required to forward the report to law enforcement.
- Next, DHS assigns a child welfare worker who will begin the investigation as soon as possible. If the case involves possible criminal acts, the DHS investigator will contact the appropriate law enforcement agency. DHS and law enforcement will make every attempt to conduct a joint investigation.
- The investigators who are assigned to the case may choose to utilize CAN’s services at the Justice Center. The Child Abuse Network brings together medical, mental health, investigative and legal professionals from multiple agencies to determine whether child abuse has occurred. CAN’s centralized approach is designed to provide more efficient, accurate and less traumatic investigation of child abuse.
- After the child leaves the Justice Center, the investigators will continue their investigations.
- When the investigation is completed, the investigators submit their findings and recommendations to the District Attorney’s Office. The DHS child welfare caseworker will submit his/her report to the Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s Office and the detective will submit his/her report to the Criminal Division of the District Attorney’s Office.
State law requires EVERY PERSON who has reason to believe that a child under 18 is a victim of abuse to report the suspicion of abuse immediately to the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Child Protective Services hasn’t done anything — why?
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a program mandated by individual states for the protection of children who are alleged to be abused or neglected. The function of this program is to screen and investigate allegations, perform assessments of the children’s safety and risk of harm, and evaluate the conditions that support or refute the allegations and need for intervention. The program may provide stabilization services for families to reduce risk factors. CPS does not necessarily remove a child in all allegations. Many allegations do not result in intervention. For example, in 2005, an estimated 3.6 million children received a CPS investigation; however only 899,000 were substantiated cases.
For more information, contact your local Child Protective Services (or)
GUIDELINES for appropriate age for children to be left home alone:
Child neglect reports alleging inadequate supervision may be accepted for a child protection response, including:
- children age 7 and younger who are left alone for any period of time;
- children ages 8-10 who are left alone for more than three hours;
- children ages 11-13 who are left alone for more than 12 hours;
- children ages 14-15 who are left alone for more than 24 hours;
- children ages 16-17 may be left alone for more than 24 hours with a plan in place concerning how to respond to an emergency.
Neglect reports alleging inadequate child care arrangements may be accepted for a child protection response according to the following guidelines:
- children younger than age 11 should not provide child care (babysitting);
- children ages 11-15 who are placed in a child care role are subject to the same time restrictions of being left alone as listed above;
- children ages 16-17 may be left alone for more than 24 hours with adequate adult back-up supervision.
These supervision guidelines are provided as a basic framework only. Each case is evaluated individually based on age and the ability of the child to respond appropriately in both routine and emergency situations.
Each State has a system to receive and respond to reports of possible child abuse and neglect. Professionals and concerned citizens can call statewide hotlines, local child protective services, or law enforcement agencies to share their concerns.
RESOURCES & HOTLINE NUMBERS:
How to Report Violations of:
Phone: 800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453)
Who They Help: Child abuse victims, parents, concerned individuals
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Stop It Now!
Phone: 888.PREVENT (888.773.8368)
Who They Help: Child sexual abuse victims, parents, offenders, concerned individuals
CyberTipline – NCMEC
To report an incident involving the production, possession, distribution, or receipt of child pornography
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 800.799. SAFE (800.799.7233)
Who They Help: Children, parents, friends, offenders
Child Find of America
Phone: 800.I.AM.LOST (800.426.5678)
Who They Help: Parents reporting lost or abducted children
CHILD FIND OF AMERICA—MEDIATION
Phone: 800.A.WAY.OUT (800.292.9688)
Who They Help: Parents (abduction, prevention, child custody issues)
NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN
Phone: 800.THE.LOST (800.843.5678)
Who They Help: Families and professionals (social services, law enforcement)
Rape and Incest National Network
Phone: 800.656.HOPE; Ext. 1 (800.656.4673; Ext. 1)
Who They Help: Rape and incest victims, media, policy makers, concerned individuals
YOUTH IN TROUBLE/RUNAWAYS
National Runaway Switchboard
Phone: 800.786.2929 (800.RUNAWAY)
Who They Help: Runaway and homeless youth, families
National Center for Victims of Crime
Phone: 800.FYI.CALL (800.394.2255)
Who They Help: Families, communities, and individuals harmed by crime
click here for INTERNATIONAL HELPLINES & WEBSITES
LOCAL STATE CHILD ABUSE REPORTING HOTLINES:
Alaska – 800-478-4444 (in state, 24 hours)
Alabama Dept. of Human Resources 334 242-9500
Arizona – 888-767-2445 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Arkansas – 800-482-5964 (nationwide, 24 hours)
California – 916-445-2771–report by county
Colorado – 303-727-3000 (in state, 24 hours)
Connecticut – 800-842-2288 (nationwide)
Delaware – 800-292-9582 (in state, 24 hours)
302-577-6550 (out of state, 24 hours)
District of Columbia – 877-671-SAFE (877-671-7233)
Florida – 800-962-2873 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Georgia – 404-657-3408–report by county
Hawaii – 808-832-5300 (24 hours)
808-832-5300 (Oahu, 24 hours)
Idaho – For info and referral to regional office: 208-334-0808
Illinois – 800-252-2873 (in state, 24 hours)
217-785-4010 (out of state, 8AM-5PM)
Indiana – 800-562-2407–report by county
Iowa – 800-362-2178 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Kansas – 800-922-5330 (in state, 24 hours)
785-296-0044 (out of state)
Kentucky – 800-752-6200 (in state, 24 hours)
502-595-4550 (out of state, 24 hours)
Louisiana – 504 925-4571 (in state, 24 hours)
225-342-6832 (out of state, during business hours)
Maine – 800-452-1999 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Maryland – 800-332-6347 (nationwide, 8AM-5PM)
Massachusetts – 617-566-0858 (out of state, 24-hours)
800-792-5200 (in state, 24 hours)
Michigan – 1-855-444-3911 (in state, 24 hours)
Minnesota – report by county
Mississippi – 800-222-8000 (in state, 24 hours)
601-359-4991 (out of state, 24 hours)
Missouri – 800-392-3738 (in state, 24 hours)
573-751-3448 (out of state, 24 hours)
Montana – 866-820-5437 or 800-332-6100 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Nebraska – 800-652-1999 or 800-471-5128 (in state, 24 hours)
402-595-1324 (out of state, 24 hours)
Nevada – 800-992-5757 (in state, 24 hours)
775-684-4400 (out of state, during business hours)
New Hampshire – 800-894-5533 (in state)
800-852-3388 (in state, after hours)
603-271-6563 (out of state)
603-225-9000 (out of state, after hours)
New Jersey – 800-792-8610 (nationwide, 24 hours)
New Mexico – 800-797-3260 or 800-432-2075 (nationwide, 24 hours)
New York – 800-342-3720 (in state, 24 hours)
518-474-8740 (out of state, 24 hours)
North Carolina – 800-662-7030 (in state, 24 hours)
North Dakota – 701-328-2316 (out of state, 8AM – 5PM)
800-245-3736 (in state, 8AM – 5PM)
Ohio – Dept. of Human Services Child Protective 614-466-0995
Oklahoma – 800-522-3511 (in state, 24 hours)
out of state, report by county
Oregon – 800-854-3508 (nationwide, 8AM – 5PM)
Pennsylvania – 800-932-0313 (in state, 24 hours)
717-783-8744 (out of state, 24 hours)
Puerto Rico – 800-981-8333 (24 hr. hotline)
Rhode Island – 800-RI-CHILD ( 800-742-4453) (nationwide, 24 hours)
South Carolina – report by county (in state)
803-898-7318 (out of state, 8AM – 5PM)
South Dakota – 605-773-3227 (nationwide, 8AM-5PM)
Tennessee – 877-237-0004 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Texas – 800-252-5400 (in state, 24 hours)
512-834-3784 (out of state, 24 hours)
Utah - 855-323-DCFS (3237)
Vermont – Dept. of Social Services 802-241-2131–report by county
Virginia – 800-552-7096 (in state, 24 hours)
804-786-8536 (out of state, 24 hours)
Washington – 800-562-5624 (nationwide, 24 hours)
West Virginia – 800-352-6513 (nationwide, 24 hours)
Wisconsin – Dept. of Health and Social Services 608-266-3036–report by county
Wyoming In-State Reporting: 307-777-7922