There are ways you can help stop child maltreatment if you suspect or know that a child is being abused or neglected. If you or someone else is in immediate and serious danger, you should call 911.
You may be wondering who can report child abuse and neglect, what information is included in a report, or what happens after a report is made. On this page, find answers to your questions, as well as national and local resources that are available to provide assistance and information about reporting suspected maltreatment.
How do I report suspected child abuse or neglect?
State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers
Contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
Provides information on the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (Call or text 1.800.4.A.CHILD [1.800.422.4453]). Professional crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2022)
Provides information about how to report online sexual exploitation of a child or if you suspect that a child has been inappropriately contacted online. Information will be made available to law enforcement to investigate.
Child Welfare Information Gateway is not a hotline for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, and it is not equipped to accept reports or intervene in personal situations of this nature.
Who can report child abuse or neglect?
Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect. Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family.
Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
All U.S. States and territories have laws identifying persons who are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Mandatory reporters may include social workers, teachers and other school personnel, child care providers, physicians and other health-care workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers. Some States require any person who suspects child abuse or neglect to report.
What do I report when I suspect child abuse or neglect?
Provide a complete, honest account of what you observed that led you to suspect the occurrence of child abuse or neglect. Any reasonable suspicion is sufficient.
What Is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
Learn how to identify and report child abuse or neglect and refer children who may have been maltreated. This factsheet provides information on the legal definitions, different types, and signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect.
What will happen after I make a report of child abuse or neglect?
After you make a report, it will be sent to child protective services (CPS). When CPS receives a report, the CPS worker reviews the information and determines if an investigation is needed. The CPS worker may talk with the family, the child, or others to help determine what is making the child unsafe. The CPS worker can help parents or other caregivers get services, education, or other assistance.