Responding to child abuse and neglect involves protecting children from harm and supporting families to reduce the risk of future harm to children. When Child Protective Services (CPS) staff receive reports from professionals and concerned citizens alerting them to concerns about a child's welfare, they may initiate an investigation to determine if a child has been or is at risk of being harmed. Staff may also assess the child's and family's needs or engage in other interventions to support the family's efforts to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their children. CPS professionals may work with law enforcement, courts, other professionals, and community members to protect children and support families. To learn more, read about the child protection process.
Child Abuse and Neglect: How to Spot the Signs and Make a Difference
Smith, Robinson, & Segal (2017)
Presents an overview of child abuse and neglect, the effects of child abuse and neglect on children, risk factors, and warning signs to recognize abusive behavior. The page provides tips for changing parental reactions to children, talking to an abused child, and reporting the child abuse.
Child Abuse or Neglect Investigations (PDF - 200 KB)
Explains the responsibilities of mandated reporters to report child abuse and neglect, steps the Connecticut Department of Children and Families takes when it receives a report of alleged child abuse or neglect from a mandated reporter, and the requirements and processes for investigation reports.
Child Maltreatment: The Latest Report
Highlights findings from the Child Maltreatment 2015 report that indicate the number of child protection services referrals, how many referrals turn into reports, how long it takes CPS to respond to a report, the child maltreatment victimization rate, characteristics of child maltreatment victims, number of children maltreatment fatalities, and child maltreatment perpetrators by relationship to victim. The report notes that knowledge of events and processes outside of the child welfare system is necessary to fully understand how to keep children safe.
How Can Strong Communities Transform Community Norms and Structures to Promote Children’s Safety and Well-Being? (PDF - 259 KB)
McLeigh, Melton, Kimbrough-Melton, & Wallace (2015)
University of Colorado at Denver
Highlights the approach taken by Strong Communities for Children to develop a neighborhood-based child protection system to enhance children’s safety. The brief includes the analysis of survey data from program participants on child safety in the home, observed parenting practices, parental stress and parenting efficacy, self-reported parenting practices, and rates of child maltreatment.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 789KB)
|Series Title||Factsheets for Families|
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 223KB)
Versión para imprimir (PDF - 216KB)
Protecting the Abused and Neglected Child: A Guide for Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF - 536 KB)
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (2015)
Explains the child abuse reporting law in Washington state as well as the definitions of negligence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and abandonment. The brief also lists signs and symptoms that indicate child abuse or neglect, the possibility of physical abuse, the possibility of neglect, and the possibility of emotional maltreatment.
The Role of First Responders in Child Maltreatment Cases: Disaster and Nondisaster Situations (PDF - 1,403 KB)
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau
Cage & Salus
This manual, written for first-response professionals, such as emergency medical technicians, child protective services caseworkers, and law enforcement officers, discusses the various types and signs of child maltreatment they may encounter in their work, what they and their agencies can do to respond to suspected child maltreatment in emergencies and disasters, and how to prepare for such situations.
State Child Abuse and Neglect Policies Database
Mathematica; Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation; Child Trends; & National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
Provides data on how each State defines child abuse and neglect and the policies and procedures they use to monitor its occurrence and associated risk and protective factors.
Toolkit on Mapping Legal, Health and Social Services Responses to Child Maltreatment (PDF - 1,020 KB)
AlBuhairan, Finkelhor, Jud, Jones, Kruger, Lannen Mikton, et al. (2015)
World Health Organization
Provides tips, recommended practices, and resources for conducting studying agency response to child maltreatment through the collection of administrative data or through surveys of professionals. The toolkit also includes information on obtaining agency participation, cost issues in studying the prevalence of child maltreatment, dissemination, and sustainability.