Do you suspect child abuse or neglect?
If you believe a child is being abused or maltreated, and you do not fall within the category of Mandated Reporter. you can anonymously report it to Child Protective Services (CPS) by calling the hotline in your state or county. But this is not the only way to help a child who is in need. If you believe a child is in imminent danger, call 911, which you can also do anonymously, if necessary.
National Child Abuse Hotline
· Chat online · What is child abuse?
Child Protective Services
The Child Protective Services is the major system of intervention of child abuse and neglect in California. Existing law provides for services to abused and neglected children and their families. The Child Protective Services goal is to keep the child in his/her own home when it is safe, and when the child is at risk, to develop an alternate plan as quickly as possible.
If you suspect that a child has been, or is in danger of, abuse or neglect , contact the county Children’s Protective Services 24-hour emergency response phone. You may also contact the police or county sheriff.
When a referral is received, the social service staff obtains facts from the person making the referral to determine if the referral alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The Emergency Response staff determines if an in-person response is indicated.
Various county of California hotline numbers:
Report Child Abuse (ca.gov)
Mandated Reporter- What Must Be Reported (ca.gov)
A mandated reporter is a person who is required by law to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the proper designated authorities . All 50 states require that professionals who work with children report reasonable suspicions of child abuse, and some states require anyone with suspicions to report.
Most states dictate that teachers, medical professionals, peace officers, firemen, psychologists, counselors, clergy, film processors, and probation officers are mandated reporters. Other professions may be listed as mandated reporters on a state by state basis.
Mandated Reporter Suspected Child Abuse Report Form:
Concerned Community Member:
Anyone can call the local Child Abuse Hotline and make a report.
CALIFORNIA CODES PENAL CODE SECTION 11164-11174.3
Law section (ca.gov)
Identifying Child Abuse and Maltreatment
Approximately 50 percent of all calls to CPS are made anonymously. Nationally, of those calls, however, less than 2 percent are substantiated by any evidence by CPS after its investigation. Before making a report, it’s important to have some degree of certainty that what you have witnessed is really harmful to a child.
Specific definitions of child abuse and maltreatment vary from state to state, but the general definition is straightforward. Child abuse occurs when a parent, guardian or anyone else legally responsible for the child has:
- inflicted serious physical or mental injury to a child.
- substantially risked a child’s life.
- caused serious or prolonged disfigurement.
- caused prolonged impairment of a child’s physical or emotional health.
- sexually abused a child.
- permitted someone else to do any of the above.
A maltreated child is any child who has been physically, mentally or emotionally harmed when a parent, guardian or anyone else legally responsible for the child has:
- failed to supply the child with adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care or education.
- unreasonably inflicted harm, or risk of harm, on a child.
- allowed someone else to inflict harm, or risk of harm, on a child.
- misused drugs or alcohol to the point where he loses control of his actions.
- abandoned a child.
Note that any adult living in the same home as a child is usually considered to be legally responsible for that child.
If in doubt, always report and let Child Protection investigate.
Click on the Training and Resources Tab for more information specific to Mandated Reporter Training