If you believe that someone has abused or neglected a child, or if you believe that a child is in danger of being abused or neglected anywhere in the United States, then you have a child protection service (CPS) should contact. Once you contact the agency, they will review the information you give and decide whether to open an investigation. Ways to report to a CPS will vary by state, but normal procedure remains the same.
Preparing to Report Someone
Identify abuse or neglect. If the child is exposed to domestic violence or physical or sexual abuse, then the CPS should intervene. In addition, if the child is not given proper nutrition or medical care, then CPS should take action. The common sign is that a child is being treated unfairly:
In many places or on both sides of the body of the child, injury or other injuries
Often or unexplained injuries, especially in a specific pattern (such as grab marks)
Fear of child when returning home
The lack of personal hygiene of the child (dirty and / or torn clothes)
The child displays sexual knowledge which is unfair to his age
The child is in pain and it is difficult to sit or walk
Persistent hunger (child stole or begging for food)
There is no cure for serious diseases
A child is left unreasonably lonely or unforgiving
Document of abuse or neglect. If possible, you may want to document abuse. You can take photos or videos, or you can simply write down what you have seen on the child’s body, such as the location of the injury or cut.
Who can get information about the injury due to injury. If you have seen abuse, but do not know the name of the adult, write a description of the person.
Alternatively, if the child tells you who has touched it inappropriately, then you should also document that information.
Find out if you’re a compulsory reporter. Each state lists a group of people who are required to report the suspicion of child abuse to the CPS. The list may vary by state, but usually includes:
Teachers, principals, and other school staff
Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals
Mental health professionals (such as consultants and physicians)
Law enforcement officer
Check if your state mandates reporting for non-professionals. Eighteen states currently require all persons who suspect child abuse to report it. This requirement is not limited to professionals. The states are:
Reporting Someone to CPS
Call Emergency 9-1-1 When a child is in imminent danger of loss, you should contact 9-1-1 instead of CPS. Once the police arrives, they will contact CPS if they can not solve the problem completely.
Get a hotline phone number. Most states maintain child exploitation hotline. The person at the other end of the hotline will collect information from you and then proceed with your concerns to local child protectione services. Search for your state’s child abuse hotline by typing “your state” and “child abuse hotline”
You can find a list of state numbers to call by visiting the Child Welfare Information Gateway website at https://www.childwelfare.gov/organizations/?CWIGFunctionsaction=rols:main.dspROL&rolType.custom&rs_id=5. This list is constantly updated.
Call the hotline. When you call, be prepared to answer questions about the child and the reason you are reporting. Try to be as convincing as possible. If you know the name of the child and the name of the parent, then you should report that information.
You do not have to be absolutely sure that abuse is happening. You should only have reason to be suspicious. The Child Protection Services will review the information you provide and determine whether or not to complete the investigation.
Report online. Some states may allow you to report online. For example, Florida has this option. After navigating the reporting screen, you will be asked various questions, such as your contact information, whether abuse is adulthood or child, and where abuse is occurring. You will also be asked for the contact information of the victim.
In Florida, you have the option to make anonymously online reporting.
If necessary, file a written report. Some states will require mandatory correspondents to comply with an oral report. You can have a form to use CPS. In any event, the report should include the following information:
Names and addresses of parents or guardians
Details of child status
Offer to share documents with CPS. If you have documented misbehavior or neglect, then you can offer to share your documents with CPS. Be sure to make copies of any document you have. Realize that although CPS may try to keep your identity anonymous, but if the rights of the parents are terminated then you can be called in court.