Members of law enforcement often respond to and become involved in a variety of types of child abuse and neglect investigations, such as in cases of sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect, domestic violence, child fatalities, human trafficking, and more. On this page, find resources and training materials to support the collaboration between law enforcement and child welfare agencies. Resources include State and local examples.
Child Protection: Law Enforcement (PDF - 527 KB)
Outlines the mission of the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to protect children and highlights the agency’s efforts to investigate cases of missing, abducted, and exploited children; ensure that victims receive trauma-informed care; and bring offenders to justice.
Family Surveillance: Police and the Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 5(1)
Examines police reports of child abuse and neglect and explores racial inequities in child welfare outcomes.
How Does Involvement With Law Enforcement Impact the Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Presents findings from a study that seeks to understand the relationship between law enforcement and child protection and how reporting of child abuse and neglect is affected by involvement with law enforcement. Results of the study showed exposure to law enforcement plays a role in determining which children come into contact with child protection.
Law Enforcement Response to Child Abuse (PDF - 2,365 KB)
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2014)
Explains law enforcement's role in child abuse cases, which spans the entire case from the initial call, through the investigation, and to the court proceedings. Law enforcement officers investigate to determine if a criminal law has been violated; identify and apprehend the offender; file criminal charges; and provide guidance and support to the child, family, and child welfare agencies involved.
Responses to the Problem of Child Abuse and Neglect in the Home
Arizona State University, Center for Problem-Oriented Policing
Outlines law enforcement considerations for an effective response to child abuse and neglect in the home and includes a section on multidisciplinary teams and their response to child maltreatment allegations.
What Are Some Examples of Real-Time Information Sharing Between Child Protection and Law Enforcement?
Casey Family Programs (2019)
Explains the need for information sharing between child protective services and law enforcement when it comes to data such as prior maltreatment reports, arrests, and convictions so that good decisions can be made about child safety. The resource presents jurisdictional examples in Los Angeles and New York City that show how to achieve effective information sharing and collaboration with law enforcement.
State and local examples
The Child Abuse Response Team (CART)
For the Child
Describes the role of the Child Abuse Response Team in California, which provides support and services to children during necessary medical exams and law enforcement interviews.
Coordination With Law Enforcement (PDF - 100 KB)
Florida Department of Children and Families (2021)
Outlines how child welfare professionals in Florida should coordinate with law enforcement in cases of child abuse or neglect.
Greensboro Child Response Initiative
Presents a trauma-informed, mental health–law enforcement model, which aims to mitigate traumatic stress in children exposed to violence.
Milwaukee County Joint Protocol on a Collaborative Response to Child Maltreatment (PDF - 1,157 KB)
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (2020)
Discusses a collaborative response system used in cases of child abuse and neglect in Milwaukee County, WI, to minimize trauma to children while maximizing child safety.
Omaha Police Department
Provides information on a multidisciplinary team in Omaha, NE, that consists of law enforcement professionals, child welfare investigators, social services, medical professionals, and others who work together to respond to cases of child abuse and neglect.