- PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
- EDIT Edit this Article
- EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- Browse Articles
- Learn Something New
- Quizzes Hot
- This Or That Game New
- Train Your Brain
- Explore More
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Log in / Sign up
- Finance and Business
- Legal Matters
- Law Enforcement
How to Make an Anonymous CPS Report Online & Over the Phone
Last Updated: November 5, 2023 Fact Checked
How to Anonymously Report to CPS
- State Phone Numbers & Websites
Other Important Hotlines
- Who Can Report
How to Recognize Child Abuse
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Janice Tieperman . Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 364,932 times.
Any suspected child abuse or neglect is a serious issue, and it’s important to report it to Child Protective Services (CPS) as soon as possible. In the United States, CPS is managed on a state level, so it’s essential to contact your state’s CPS branch online or over the phone to make an anonymous report. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the reporting process, including useful phone numbers, websites, and hotlines. We’ll also cover the different types of child abuse and how to recognize them so you can be as informed as possible when making your report.
Things You Should Know
- Make an anonymous report online or over the phone using your state’s designated website and phone number.
- Provide as much detail as you can in your report, including the events or observations that caused you to suspect abuse.
- Call the Childhelp National Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for additional advice on how to report child abuse.
- Check the State Phone Numbers & Websites for Reporting section below to find the best ways to report child abuse in your state.
- “Whenever I see Jake, an 8-year-old kid in my neighborhood, he’s always covered in bruises. I’m worried that his parents might be abusing him at home.”
- “Casey Perkins, a 12-year-old in my child’s class, frequently comes to school in dirty clothes, and she has an obvious body odor. My child also notices that she asks other students for part of their lunches—I’m concerned that she might be neglected at home.”
- “I volunteer at a summer camp, and I’m seriously concerned that Randall Ramirez, a 9-year-old kid there, might be getting sexually abused at home. They always seem to be in pain when they’re sitting down, and they tested positive for an STI at the infirmary.”
- Call the Childhelp Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 to learn if/how you can follow up on your case.
State Phone Numbers & Websites for Reporting
- * means that the website is meant for mandated reporters only
- ** means that the website may be unavailable
- Childhelp also offers text support at the same number and live chat support on their website.
- Keep in mind that CyberTipline is meant to report online child abuse, not adult abuse. If someone has posted inappropriate content of an adult online, visit the Stop Non-Consensual Image Abuse website or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center .
Who can make an anonymous CPS report?
- Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway's website for more information about mandatory reporters.
- The child is absent often.
- The child doesn’t dress appropriately for the weather.
- The child seems filthy and smells bad.
- The child requests food and/or steals money from others.  X Trustworthy Source Child Welfare Information Gateway Online portal managed by the U.S. Children's Bureau providing resources related to childcare and abuse prevention Go to source
- A child with visible injuries (e.g., bruises, burns, bites, etc.).
- A child who’s visibly afraid of their parent or guardian.
- A child who’s fearful of adults.
- A child with disappearing injuries after being away from school.  X Trustworthy Source Child Welfare Information Gateway Online portal managed by the U.S. Children's Bureau providing resources related to childcare and abuse prevention Go to source
- A child with polarizing types of behavior (e.g., being incredibly submissive then being incredibly aggressive).
- A child who’s behind their peers when it comes to emotional development and maturity.
- A child who acts extremely mature or extremely juvenile.
- A child who has tried to take their own life in the past.  X Trustworthy Source Child Welfare Information Gateway Online portal managed by the U.S. Children's Bureau providing resources related to childcare and abuse prevention Go to source
- The child has trouble sitting down or walking around.
- The child mentions wetting the bed or having bad dreams.
- The child is uncomfortable switching clothes for gym class or doing physical things.
- The child gets pregnant or tests positive for an STI/STD.  X Trustworthy Source Child Welfare Information Gateway Online portal managed by the U.S. Children's Bureau providing resources related to childcare and abuse prevention Go to source
Video . by using this service, some information may be shared with youtube..
- If you’re ever confused about any part of the child abuse reporting process, call or text the Childhelp Hotline at 1-800-422-4453, or visit their website to chat with a professional. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- Check out resources like ChildWelfare , HHS , MayoClinic , and KidsHealth to learn more about child abuse. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- If you suspect that a child’s life is in danger because of their abuse, call 911 rather than your state’s abuse hotline. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/how/
- ↑ https://www.childhelphotline.org/how-it-works/
- ↑ https://mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/symptoms-causes/syc-20370864
- ↑ https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/signs.pdf
- ↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/symptoms-causes/syc-20370864
- ↑ https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/identifying/emotional-abuse/
- ↑ https://hside.org/child-abuse-signs-symptoms/#types
About This Article
To make an anonymous report to child protective services, start by collecting as much information as you can about the situation, such as the child’s name, their parent’s names, address, age, and a description of their abuse or neglect. Since there are many child protective services across the country, call ChildHelp on 1-800-422-4453, who will direct you to the relevant authority. Alternatively, search online for your state or region, followed by “Child abuse hotline” to find the right organization for your area. However, if you suspect that a child is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 911. For more tips from our Legal co-author, including how to report child abuse or neglect in writing, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
- Send fan mail to authors
Did this article help you?
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
wikiHow Tech Help Pro:
Develop the tech skills you need for work and life
Cookies on GOV.UK
We use some essential cookies to make this website work.
We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use GOV.UK, remember your settings and improve government services.
You have accepted additional cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.
You have rejected additional cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.
- Crime, justice and the law
- Reporting crimes
Report child abuse
If you’re worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused contact the children’s social care team at their local council .
You’ll be asked for your details, but you can choose not to share them.
Call 999 if the child is at immediate risk.
If it’s not an emergency, you can report the crime online or call 101.
Calls to 999 or 101 are free.
What to report
Child abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. You can read more about the signs of child abuse .
You don’t need to be sure that a child or young person has been abused - it’s OK to report a suspicion.
What happens when you report it
The person who answers your call will decide what to do. For example, they might:
- gather more information
- ask a social worker to look into it
- contact the police, if they think the child is at immediate risk or a crime has been committed
The children’s social care team will tell you what happens next, but they will not be able to give you any confidential information.
Contact the NSPCC if you want to discuss your concerns and get advice.
NSPCC (for adults) Telephone: 0808 800 5000 Find out about call charges
ChildLine (for children and young people) Telephone: 0800 1111 (free)
The ChildLine number will not show up on your phone bill if you call from a landline or from most mobile networks.
Report child abuse in education
NSPCC (for children, young people and adults) Telephone: 0800 136 663 (free)
Is this page useful.
- Yes this page is useful
- No this page is not useful
Help us improve GOV.UK
Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.
To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today. We’ll send you a link to a feedback form. It will take only 2 minutes to fill in. Don’t worry we won’t send you spam or share your email address with anyone.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Administration for Children & Families
- Children's Bureau
- Free Subscriptions
- Resources in Spanish
- Shopping Cart
- Search Child Welfare Information Gateway Search
How to Report Child Abuse and Neglect
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 Childhelp 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.
CyberTipline 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.
( Back to Top)
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.
( Back to Top )
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.
Where can I find additional resources?
Child Welfare Information Gateway offers resources about child abuse and neglect.
Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect Presents information about promoting well-being, creating supportive communities, prevention programs, and evidence-based practice with the purpose of reducing the risk of maltreatment.
Identification of Child Abuse & Neglect Offers resources on child abuse and neglect, including definitions, identification of signs and symptoms, statistics and data, risk factors, perpetrators, the impact on individuals and society, and child fatalities.
Responding to Child Abuse & Neglect Features resources on reporting suspected child abuse and neglect; intake, investigation, and assessment of reports; addressing trauma; and collaborative responses.
Find Help With a Personal Situation Links to additional resources and organizations that can assist in specific issues individuals may be facing.
Individuals working with...
How do i report a concern about a child, when should i report a concern about a child to tusla.
You should always inform Tusla when you have reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. If you ignore what may be symptoms of abuse, it could result in ongoing harm to the child. It is not necessary for you to prove that abuse has occurred to report a concern to Tusla. All that is required is that you have reasonable grounds for concern. It is Tusla’s role to assess concerns that are reported to it. If you report a concern, you can be assured that your information will be carefully considered with any other information available and a child protection assessment will be carried out where sufficient risk is identified.
Reasonable grounds for a child protection or welfare concern include:
- Evidence, for example an injury or behaviour, that is consistent with abuse and is unlikely to have been caused in any other way
- Any concern about possible sexual abuse
- Consistent signs that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect
- A child saying or indicating by other means that he or she has been abused
- Admission or indication by an adult or a child of an alleged abuse they committed
- An account from a person who saw the child being abused
This short video talks you through how to report a concern to Tusla. It includes information on what information to include in your report.
Who do I contact to make a report?
You can report your concern in person, by telephone or in writing to the local social work duty service in the area where the child lives. Contact details for local social work teams are available here .
Tusla has two forms for reporting child protection and welfare concerns – the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (CPWRF) and the Retrospective Abuse Report Form (RARF). The Child Protection and Welfare Report Form is to be completed and submitted to Tusla for concerns about children under the age of 18. A web portal has been developed to allow for the secure submission of CPWRFs to Tusla. The Retrospective Abuse Report Form is to be completed and submitted to Tusla for cases of adults disclosing childhood abuse. It is not currently possible to submit RARFs using the web portal. Both the CPWRF and RARF can be downloaded here. If using a hardcopy CPWRF or RARF, the completed form should be sent to the Duty Social Work team in the area where the child resides.
What information do I need to include in the report?
To help Tusla staff assess your reasonable concern, they need as much information as possible. You should provide as much relevant information as you can about the child, his/her home circumstances and the grounds for concern.
You should give as much information as possible to social workers at an early stage so that they can do a full check of their records. For instance, they can see if the child and/or a sibling have been the subject of a previous referral, or if an adult in the household had previous contact with the child protection services. It also helps social workers to prioritise cases for attention, as they are not in a position to respond immediately to all cases. However, they will always respond where a child is in immediate danger or at high risk of harm. It will also help Tusla to decide if another service would be more appropriate to help meet the needs of the child, i.e. a community or family support service rather than a social work service.
Tusla’s Child Protection and Welfare Report Form can be found here.
For additional information on making a report to Tusla please see A Guide for the Reporting of Child Protection and Welfare Concerns.
What if I am unsure if I should report?
If you are concerned about a child but unsure whether you should report it to Tusla, you may find it useful to contact Tusla to discuss your concern.
This provides an opportunity to discuss the query in general and to decide whether a formal report of the concern to Tusla is appropriate at this stage. If the concern is below the threshold for reporting, Tusla may be able to provide advice in terms of keeping an eye on the child and other services that may be more suitable to meeting the needs of the child and/or family.
Do I need to tell the family I am making a report?
It is best practice to tell a family you are making a report. Families have a right to know what is being reported about them. It also helps them understand the reasons for reporting and what information is being reported. However, in exceptional circumstances you may be concerned that telling the family will put the child at further risk, could impact on Tusla’s ability to carry out an assessment or could place you at risk of harm from the family. In these exceptional circumstances it is not necessary for you to tell the family you are making a report.
Can I report anonymously?
While it is possible to report a concern without giving your name, it may make it difficult for Tusla to assess your concern. All information that you provide will be dealt with in a professional manner. While Tusla cannot guarantee confidentiality, in general we do not reveal the names of members of the public who report suspected child abuse without their permission. However, Tusla must respect the rights to fair procedure of people against whom allegations have been made and sometimes information about an allegation will be shared with a person against whom the allegation has been made.
Remember, if you are a mandated person , you cannot submit a report of a mandated concern anonymously, as to do so will mean you are not complying with your obligations under the Act.
What protections do I have when I make a report?
The Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 protects you if you make a report of suspected child abuse to designated officers of Tusla, the Health Service Executive (HSE) or to members of the Gardaí as long as the report is made in good faith and is not malicious. Designated officers also include persons authorised by the Chief Executive Officer of Tusla to receive and acknowledge reports of mandated concerns about a child from mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015.
This legal protection means that even if you report a case of suspected child abuse and it proves unfounded, a plaintiff who took an action would have to prove that you had not acted reasonably and in good faith in making the report. If you make a report in good faith and in the child’s best interests, you may also be protected under common law by the defence of qualified privilege.
You can find the full list of persons in Tusla and the HSE who are designated Officers here
What happens after a report is received by Tusla?
Click below to watch a short video If you would like some general information on what happens to a report when it is received by Tusla:
Dealing with a retrospective allegation
Some adults may disclose abuse that took place during their childhood. Such disclosures may come to light when an adult attends counselling, or is being treated for a psychiatric or health problem. If you are, for example, a counsellor or health professional, and you receive a disclosure from a client that they were abused as a child, you should report this information to Tusla, as the alleged abuser may pose a current risk to children. (Link to RARF)
Concerns about an adult who may pose a risk to children
While in most cases concerns for the welfare or safety of a child develop from your own observation or knowledge of the child or their family, sometimes concerns arise about whether an adult may pose a risk to children, even if there is no specific child named in relation to the concern. For example, based on known or suspected past behaviour, a concern could exist about the risk an individual may pose to children with whom they may have contact. You should report any such reasonable concerns to Tusla, who will try to establish whether or not any child is currently at risk from the individual in question.
While Tusla will make every effort to examine such cases, it is a very complex area involving the accused’s constitutional rights to their good name, privacy and the right to earn a living, as well as the requirements of natural justice. Tusla must work within the Constitution, the law, the legal system and the demands of natural justice to balance the conflicting rights of those involved. This may limit how much feedback Tusla can provide to you on the progress or outcome of the case. Tusla’s examination can be greatly improved if the alleged victim feels able to cooperate with Tusla in its assessment or investigation.
Reporting child abuse and neglect
If you are worried about the safety or welfare of a child, it is important that you report it. Even if you’re not sure, it's always best to tell professionals about your concerns. Social services and the police can investigate concerns about a child's safety.
Who to contact
If you think that a child living in Northern Ireland:
- is being abused
- has been harmed in any way
- is likely to suffer harm
you should contact the Gateway Services teams for Children’s Social Work at the Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust in the area that the child lives.
- Gateway Service Teams contact details
You can also contact the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's (NSPCC) free and confidential 24-hour helpline service:
- NSPCC - Child protection helpline
What you will be asked
You will be asked to give information such as:
- where the child lives
- their personal or family details, if known
- who cares for them
- your concerns
All calls about concerns for the safety of a child are taken seriously and treated in confidence. It is up to you if you give your name.
Social services will investigate your concerns and take suitable action to make sure that the child is protected.
Child Protection disclosure arrangements
If you're concerned that someone with access to a child might be a risk to that child, you can apply to the police to ask if that person has a criminal record for sexual or violent offences.
To apply, you need to complete a form and bring it in person to a police station. You can download the form from the PSNI's website or collect a form in any police station.
- Child protection disclosure arrangements - PSNI website
At the police station, you must prove your identity with acceptable photographic identification such as:
- a driving licence
- an electoral ID card
You might need to answer some questions and sign the declaration.
The disclosure process can take up to 28 days. If necessary to protect the child, the police will give conviction information to the child's guardian or parent.
Help improve this page - send your feedback.
You will not receive a reply. We will consider your feedback to help improve the site. Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.
What to do next
Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to [email protected]
If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit. Contacts for common benefits are listed below.
Call 0800 587 0912 Email [email protected]
Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance
Call 0800 587 2750 Email [email protected]
Disability Living Allowance
Call 0800 587 0912 Email [email protected]
Employment and Support Allowance
Call 0800 587 1377
Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office
Personal Independence Payment
Call 0800 587 0932
If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.
Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to [email protected] or you can also call 0300 200 7818.
For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service .
For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service .
For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit .
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) section , then for queries about:
- Restrictions or regulations — contact the Department of Health
- Travel advice (including self-isolation) — contact the Department of Health
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations — contact the Department of Health or Public Health Agency
If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.
For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email [email protected]
Application and payment queries can be emailed to [email protected]
For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency .
For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email [email protected]
For queries about the High Street Spend Local Scheme, email [email protected] .
For queries about:
- Car tax, vehicle registration and SORN contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Swansea
- Driver licensing and tests, MOT and vehicle testing contact the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), Northern Ireland
For queries about your identity check, email [email protected] .
For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office .
For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email [email protected]
For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre .
If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section .
If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads .
For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service .
For queries or advice about rates, email [email protected]
For queries or advice about 60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink .
If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly . We don't have access to information about you.
Can I make an anonymous report of abuse?
Many states accept anonymous reports of alleged child abuse and neglect. Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect is everyone's responsibility. If you have any concerns about a child’s welfare, you should contact the appropriate authorities in the state where the child resides. Each state has trained professionals who can evaluate the situation and determine whether intervention and services are needed. Most states have a toll-free number to call to report suspected abuse. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, provides a list of state child abuse reporting numbers .
All states are required to preserve the confidentiality of child maltreatment reports except in certain limited circumstances (see Information Gateway's publication Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records ). Confidentiality refers to protecting the information from public view, including protecting the identity of the reporter from the person suspected of abuse or neglect.
Another resource for information on how and where to file a report of suspected child abuse and neglect is the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. Childhelp can be reached 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, at its toll-free number, 1.800.4-A-CHILD (1.800.422.4453), and/or via text messaging or chat .
If you have concerns about the safety and well-being of a child or youth 17 years old or younger in your community, you can learn the definitions of “child abuse” and “neglect,” how to make a report, and what happens when a report is made.
Deciding to get involved in a situation where a child/youth may be in danger can be difficult. But your anonymous report may provide needed help to a family in crisis or even save a life. Find out more below:
What is "Child Abuse" or "Neglect?"
- Child physical abuse occurs when a parent or caretaker inflicts or allows someone to inflict serious physical injury other than by accidental means.
- This includes, but is not limited to, shaking, beating, biting, kicking, punching, and burning. It is also considered abuse if a parent/caretaker creates a condition or allows the condition to be created, that leads to a child or youth becoming the victim of serious physical injury.
- Child sexual abuse includes incest, rape, obscene sexual performance, fondling a child’s or youth’s genitals, intercourse, sodomy, and any other contact such as exposing them to sexual activity, or commercial sexual exploitation such as prostitution of a minor or production of pornographic materials involving a minor.
- Failure to support a child’s educational needs either by keeping a child home from school for unexcused reasons or not following up with a child’s educational needs despite the school’s outreach to the parent or caretaker.
- Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter.
- Failure to provide medical or mental health care (including drug abuse services).
- Leaving a child alone who is not developmentally able to be left alone without adequate supervision.
- Leaving a child with someone without establishing a plan for the provision for food, clothing, education, or medical care.
- Leaving a child with someone that does not have the ability to appropriately supervise or protect the child.
- Subjecting a child to humiliation, fear, verbal terror, or extreme criticism.
- Using corporal punishment beyond what is objectionably reasonable and it results in the physical or emotional harm of a child.
- Exposing a child to family violence.
- Parent or caretaker using drugs to the point of not being able to adequately take care of a child/youth.
- Keeping, manufacturing, or selling drugs in the presence of a child, or giving drugs to a child/youth.
How to Make a Report
Anyone can make an anonymous report when they are concerned about the safety and well-being of a child or youth.
If the child/youth is in immediate danger, call or text 911 . Otherwise, call 311 in NYC or the New York State Central Register (SCR) directly at 1-800-342-3720 .
When making a report, you will be asked for as much information as you can provide to help identify and locate the child/youth or parents/persons legally responsible for child, such as:
- Name and address of the child/youth and family members.
- Child's/youth’s age, sex, and primary language.
- Nature and extent of the child’s/youth’s injuries.
- Type of abuse or neglect, including knowledge of prior history of abuse or neglect of the child/youth or siblings.
- Any additional information that may be helpful.
What Happens When a Report is Made?
Calling in a report does not automatically result in the removal of a child/youth.
The Child Protective Specialist will partner with the family to assess services needed to support the safety and well-being of the child/youth, which can include counseling, in-home services, mental health and alcohol/drug abuse services or more. In severe situations, it may be necessary to temporarily place a child in out-of-home foster care.
An investigation conducted by a Child Protective Specialist (CPS) will:
- Have 24 hours to gather more information from the reporting person, if known.
- Make an unannounced visit to the child’s/youth’s home within 24 – 48 hours of the report. The CPS must see and speak to all children living in the home or with other caretakers, as well as all children/youth that are present in the home during the investigation.
- Speak to all adults or caretakers living in the home.
- Give the home a letter called a Notice of Existence, informing adults in the home that they have an open investigation of abuse or maltreatment. If an adult is not home, the CPS will leave a Notice of Home Visit letter informing residents of the visit.
- Check to make sure the home is free of hazards, has adequate food, safe sleeping arrangements, etc.
- Go to the child’s/youth’s school, talk to family members and other people who may know the child/youth, like a neighbor, building superintendent, teacher, doctor, nurse, NYPD, etc.
- During the investigation, if it is determined that services are required, ACS will refer adults in the home to services and work with them to help receive those services.
- The CPS may offer the family Preventive Services (including mental health, substance use and other programs) or ask them to attend an Initial Child Safety Conference as a result of concerns noted during the investigation.
Making a Determination:
Within 60 days or fewer, the Administration for Children’s Services will make a determination of whether or not the report is considered “Indicated” or “Unfounded.”
“Indicated” means that:
- A CPS found enough evidence to support the claim that a child/youth has been abused or neglected.
- Adults in the home will receive a letter from a CPS called a “Notice of Indication,” telling them that the report was indicated. The letter will also notify them of their right to ask for a review of that decision, which must be done within 60 days of the receipt of the letter.
“Unfounded” means that:
- A CPS did not find enough evidence to support the claim that a child/youth has been abused or neglected.
- Adults in the home will receive a letter from the New York State Central Register that the report was unfounded.
- Adults in the home may still be offered preventive services (including counseling for substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, etc.) to help support their family.
Outcomes of Child Protective Investigation:
The case is:
- Closed with ACS, no services are needed.
- Referred to a community-based organization and closed with ACS.
- Referred to a ACS contacted preventive provider in the family’s community, CPS closes its investigation.
- When there are heighted concerns but the child/youth will remain in the community with their parent/caretakers, the family can be referred to family court for court ordered supervision. The family court could mandate the parent/caretaker to participate in services and for heightened oversight.
- When a child/youth cannot remain safely in the community with their parent/caretakers a child may be temporarily placed in out-of-home care.
Programs & Initiatives
Meet a child waiting for a loving adoptive home.
Adopt or Foster a Child
Open your heart and home to a child in foster care; become a foster or adoptive parent.
Report Child Abuse
Identify the signs of child abuse and maltreatment. Help protect a child by making a report.
New York City Kids are Our Kids
Get involved in the lives of children in your community. Volunteer as a tutor, mentor, or coach.
Child Support for Employers
Get information for employers on withholding income, reporting new hires, and more.
If you are about to become homeless, Homebase can help you stay out of shelter.