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How to Make an Anonymous Report to Child Protective Services
Last Updated: August 30, 2021 References
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD . 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 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 323,717 times.
You suspect a child is being abused or neglected and you don't know what to do. You may want to stay anonymous because of fear of reprisal or a connection to the family. However, the first concern should always be the welfare of the child. Most states will allow you to remain anonymous during a child abuse report, but it is discouraged. Agencies are understaffed and have to prioritize reports. A detailed report from someone willing to speak on the record may get a faster response than an anonymous supposition. Regardless, every report is important, including the anonymous ones.
Preparing to Make a Report to Child Protective Services
- Be careful not to inflict your personal standards on the situation. Dirty or torn clothing may be from poverty, but not rise to the level of neglect.
- Abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual, and mental injury to a child. It can happen when the parent or caregiver specifically injures the child or consistently fails to protect the child from being hurt.  X Research source
- Use of a child under the age of consent for sexual gratification is abuse, even if there is no physical injury.  X Research source
- Neglect occurs when the parent does not supply the child's basic needs. It can be physical, such as inadequate food and failure to provide medical care. It can also be mental and emotional, including neglecting education and the child's emotional development. Chronic truancy can be considered child neglect in some circumstances.  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
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect by Telephone
- Use your common sense to determine if a situation is an emergency. 911 is not for suspicions of child abuse. It is for situations where you believe someone needs assistance from police, fire, or ambulance services.
- For example, if you see or hear a child being beaten or if the child calls for help.
- If you find a child that has been abandoned or believe children have been left alone at home for an unreasonable time.
- If you see or hear someone threaten a child with a weapon.
- A child that is visibly injured.
- A child who is sick beyond normal, for example, you believe the child is starving.
- If a child tells you they have been sexually abused or you see signs, such as blood in his underpants.
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect in Writing
- Give as much information as you can. If you have it, give the child's name and age. You must be able to give an address, including the city and county. Other good information is the name of the parents and a brief and succinct description of what you have seen or suspect. Be as specific as possible.
- Affix proper postage and mail the report to the agency.
Video . by using this service, some information may be shared with youtube..
- Do not expect your written report to be acknowledged. Also, you will not be able to contact the agency and ask about progress. All records concerning the child will be kept confidential. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 4 Not Helpful 3
- Do not be tempted to use the child abuse reporting systems to try to influence the outcome of a divorce or custody case. Making false accusations of child abuse can result in loss of custody, restricted visitation, or sanctions for contempt of court.  X Research source ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/documents/Contact_Us/documents/swiflyer.pdf
- ↑ https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/
- ↑ https://www.wearethorn.org/child-pornography-and-abuse-facts/
- ↑ https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/whatiscan.pdf
- ↑ https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/how/
- ↑ https://www.childwelfare.gov/organizations/?CWIGFunctionsaction=rols:main.dspROL&rolType=custom&rs_id=5
- ↑ https://www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services
- ↑ https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/Default.aspx
- ↑ http://farzadlaw.com/orange-county-child-custody-attorneys/falsely-accused-child-abuse-divorce/
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
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Child Protective Services
Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect. Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family, and it may even save a child's life. In some states, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report it.
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, or if you are a child who is being mistreated, call 800-422-4453 immediately. This ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline can provide information on how to make a report.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides helpful information about how to report suspected child abuse and neglect and additional helpful resources. Many states have a toll-free phone number for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. To find out where to call, check the State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers list on the Child Welfare Information Gateway .
If you think child abuse or a health and safety violation is happening at a child care program contact your state’s Child Care Health and Safety Violation Report Hotline. You can find your state’s number on the “Child Care Health and Safety Violations: State and Territory Reporting Information” page or via a link at the bottom of each page on this website.
Child and Family Services Agency
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Information for Parents and Caregivers
Every child has the right to be safe. District law defines child abuse as:
- Putting a child in a dangerous situation.
- Hurting a child on purpose.
- Adult sexual exploitation or contact with a child.
- Actions of a parent (or caregiver) that cause mental or emotional harm to a child.
District law defines child neglect as:
- Lack of food, shelter, supervision, education, or medical care for a child due to actions or habits of a parent (or caregiver).
By itself, lack of money is not child neglect.
The DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) protects District children from abuse and neglect and helps their families. CFSA receives and investigates reports of abuse and neglect of District young people age 18 and younger. We work to ensure children and teens are safe, healthy, and getting the care they need. Often, our involvement with a family leads to help with their issues, problems, and emergencies.
Why is a CFSA social worker contacting me?
CFSA received a report that your child may have been abused or neglected—or is at risk of abuse or neglect. District law requires CFSA to investigate all reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
Who’s saying my child is abused or neglected?
Anyone who thinks a child has been abused or neglected can all CFSA’s 24-hour hotline at (202) 671-SAFE. Sometimes, neighbors, friends, relatives, or even strangers call because they are concerned about a child. District law requires certain people to call if they suspect child abuse or neglect. Some of these “mandated reporters” include: doctors, teachers, social workers, police officers, and child care workers. Mandated reporters must give us their names; other people who call don’t have to give their names.
By law, the identity of people who report child abuse and neglect is strictly confidential. We cannot tell you who called us.
What happens when CFSA gets a report?
We assign a social worker from CFSA Child Protective Services (CPS) to investigate, usually within 24 hours of getting the report. The social worker’s job is to find out whether the report of abuse or neglect is true or false. The social worker also decides whether CFSA or a community organization should continue helping your family.
Who will the social worker talk to?
The social worker will talk to you, your children, and others living in your home. The social worker will also contact people who know you and your children—such as doctors, teachers, baby sitters, relatives, and neighbors. You can ask the social worker to speak to certain people who have information about your child. The social worker may contact people without your permission.
Under law, some types of child abuse are crimes. CFSA must contact the police when a report indicates sexual abuse or serious physical abuse. Then, CFSA, the police, and others work together to protect the child. Only the police can arrest people and charge them with crimes. CFSA does not have that authority.
Does the social worker have to talk to my child?
Yes. The social worker must see and speak to all children living in your home. Even if a report is about only one of your children, CFSA must see and talk to all your children. The social worker may see and talk to your children at day care or school before contacting you. The child needs to feel that he or she can speak freely.
What if I don’t want to talk to the social worker?
It is in your best interest to cooperate with our investigation. This is a good opportunity to tell your side of the story. But even if you do not cooperate, we must still investigate the report. If we believe your child is in immediate danger, we will contact the police for assistance. If necessary, we will ask the court to order you to let us see your child.
Will you take my children away from me?
Many children CFSA serves stay at home with their families. Our goal is to keep families together whenever possible. Your social worker may help you get services—such as day care—so your children can stay at home with you.
However, CFSA has the legal responsibility to protect children from abuse and neglect. Sometimes, a home is just not safe. Then, we must remove children to safe places. We try to keep brothers and sisters together in the most family-like setting that will meet their needs. That could be with one of your relatives or in a foster home. When CFSA removes children from home, we have 72 hours (excluding Sundays) to ask DC Family Court to agree or disagree with removing the children.
What happens after the investigation?
Usually within 30 days, the social worker will use information collected during the investigation to decide what happened. CFSA will send you a letter explaining what we found.
If we find your child was not abused or neglected, CFSA will usually not stay involved with your family unless you ask for our help. If we find your child was definitely or probably abused or neglected, CFSA or another organization will stay involved with you. This does not automatically mean we will remove your children from home. However, we must add the name of the abuser to the Child Protection Register. That is the District’s listing of people CFSA has found definitely or probably responsible for child abuse or neglect.
In many cases, you may be able to make changes to keep your children at home safely. Your social worker will work with you to develop a case plan. It will list changes you must make for the good of your children. It will also list helping services you must use to make the changes. You will sign the plan and get a copy.
CFSA will visit you regularly to make sure you are following your plan. We will stay involved until we believe you no longer need our help to protect your children.
What kinds of help can CFSA give my family?
We can arrange for many helping services for you and your family. Some may be in your neighborhood and might include:
- Parent education and support.
- Housing assistance.
- Child care.
- Substance abuse treatment.
- Medical treatment.
- Educational evaluations for children.
What rights do I have when CFSA gets involved with my family?
You have the right to:
- Be treated with respect and courtesy. We must help you without discrimination on the basis of age; race; national origin; creed; gender; sexual orientation; lifestyle; or physical, mental, or developmental disability. If you think we have discriminated against you, you have the right to file a claim with the DC Office of Human Rights at (202) 727-4559.
- Privacy. Under law, CFSA cannot give information about your family or your case to the public.
- Know what’s going on and to get clear, honest answers to your questions.
- Have a relative, friend, or any other person with you at meetings with CFSA (unless the court has forbidden that person’s involvement in your case).
- A court hearing within 72 hours of your child’s removal from home.
- Have an attorney with you at any time. If CFSA takes your case to court, you should get an attorney. If you cannot pay, the court will appoint an attorney for you. The court will appoint a different attorney to represent your child.
- Information about other ways to get the help you need if CFSA cannot help your family.
- Refuse to take part in our investigation. However, it is in your best interest to cooperate. If you don’t, CFSA may seek help from the police or court.
What responsibilities do I have when CFSA gets involved with my family?
You will help your children and yourself when you:
- Tell the truth.
- Ask questions.
- Cooperate with the social worker and others helping you.
- Follow your case plan and take part in required services.
- Attend meetings about your case, including court hearings when the court is involved.
- Improve your family situation for the good of your children.
What if I have a problem with CFSA?
Keep in mind that CFSA has the legal authority to get involved with families where a child has been abused or neglected or is at risk.
- Keep a written record of what’s happening on your case. Write down the names of CFSA employees you talk to, dates of the conversations, and information they provide. Keep this record with other important papers about your case.
- Try to resolve the problem with your social worker first. Share your concerns and listen to your social worker’s answers. Ask questions so you understand decisions and actions on your case.
- Call your social worker’s supervisor. Explain why you are dissatisfied. Listen and ask questions.
- If you feel CFSA still is not taking care of your issue, tell the social worker or supervisor that you want to speak to the program manager.
What if I don’t agree with your finding of abuse or neglect?
You may request a Fair Hearing to have your name removed from the Child Protection Register. However, if the court is involved, CFSA must hold your request until the court reaches a decision in the abuse or neglect or criminal case.
We will mail you a written notice within seven days of your name being entered into the Child Protection Register. It will explain your right to a Fair Hearing and tell you how to ask for one. In some cases, a CFSA program manager may contact you to talk about your concerns before the Fair Hearing.
View the printable version of this document.
- Health & Human Services
- Social Services
- Child Services
Wright County has the responsibility and authority to assure that children alleged to be abused or neglected are protected from harm or danger and that children in need of protection or services receive the appropriate services.
Services are initiated when a child protection report is made by either a mandatory or voluntary reporter. Reports are initially screened to see if there is an allegation of abuse or neglect that meets criteria as defined by MN Statute 260E .
Reporting Abuse or Neglect
If the child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local police department.
Anybody can make a voluntary report of suspected child abuse or neglect if that person has reason to believe that a child has been mistreated. Others are mandated to report by statute. The requirements for reporting are outlined in MN Statute 260E .
If you are unsure if you should make a report, call the intake line at 763-682-7449. Child protection staff are available and can help you decide if a report should be made based on the information you provide. The identity of the reporter is always kept confidential.
A mandated reporter must call immediately, but no later than 24 hours after they suspect that maltreatment has occurred. The mandated reporter must follow up with a written report within 72 hours. A report can be made to your local county social services agency or to law enforcement.
If making a report during normal business hours, please call 763-682-7449, or you may complete the online form below.
Suspected Abuse/Neglect Report
If you need to make a report after hours, please call 763-682-7400 to be routed to the Wright County Sheriff's Department dispatch who will get you in touch with the after hours social worker.
How To File a Complaint
How to Complete and Submit a Request for Professional Review
1. Find out if the social worker is a member of NASW *
To do this: Contact the Office of Ethics and Professional Review via email at [email protected] with ONLY the following information:
- First and last name of the social worker
- U.S. City and state where the violation(s) occurred
- Date of the alleged violation(s) (The NASW process can only review alleged violations that have occurred in the past calendar year)
Please send only one email. Do not include any attachments. The Office of Ethics and Professional Review (OEPR) will respond within fourteen (14) business days.
Please note: There is a one-year time limitation on violations that can be reviewed by the NASW process based on the date on which we receive a Request for Professional Review.
* Only AFTER you have received our verification that the person is an NASW member, proceed with the next steps.
2. Review the NASW Code of Ethics
Review the NASW Code of Ethics
Review the ethical standards in the Code of Ethics. Determine if your complaint meets any of the ethical standards listed. If so, can you provide examples?
3. If you determine your complaint meets the ethical standards, then download the NASW Procedures for Professional Review and required Request for Professional Review (RPR) and Confidentiality Forms.
The Office of Ethics and Professional Review (OEPR) will assign you a Consultant upon request. The consultant will help you complete the required Request for Professional Review (RPR) form and the Confidentiality Pledge/Statement of Understanding form . The Consultant can give guidance and technical assistance throughout the professional review process. However, the assigned Consultant cannot advocate on the Complainant’s or Respondent’s behalf.
NASW Procedures for Professional Review (PDF)
4. You will complete the Request for Professional Review Form
If the alleged misconduct occurred more than one (1) year (12 months) ago. You will need to complete a Time Limits Waiver (TLW) form in its entirety. A Consultant can explain and assist you with completing the form. You may request a consultant by emailing your completed Request for Professional Review Form and supporting documents to [email protected] with" RPR for Review" in the subject line. Note that all NASW emailed communications regarding a case will be secure.
NASW Request for Professional Review (PDF)
5. You will complete the Confidentiality Pledge / Statement of Understanding Form
The NASW professional review process is a fair and just legally protected peer-review process. All parties involved in the professional review process are required to maintain strict standards regarding confidentiality. Confidentiality pertains to all documents and proceedings including information that the Request for Professional Review (RPR) has been filed as well as any and all outcomes. Legal counsel may not participate directly in the professional review process.
NASW Confidentiality Pledge / Statement of Understanding (PDF)
6. Is your Request for Professional Review complete?
A Request for Professional Review package must include a fully completed and signed:
Request for Professional Review (RPR) form
Confidentiality Pledge/Statement of Understanding form .
Note: The Time Limits Waiver (TLW) form is required only if the alleged misconduct occurred more than one (1) year (12 months) ago but no more than 2 years (24 months) ago. Allegations that happened more than 2 years ago will not be accepted for review.
7. The Respondent will be notified and have an opportunity to submit a response
The Respondent will have 14 business days following the receipt of a correctly submitted RPR to submit a signed Confidentiality Pledge/Statement of Understanding form and a response that is pertinent to the criteria for acceptance of the RPR. The Respondent will be assisted by a different Consultant, if a Consultant is requested.
Next Steps: After both parties have submitted their materials the following steps will be taken:
The Intake Subcommittee of the National Ethics Committee (NEC) will review the RPR to determine if the criteria for acceptance have (has) been met.
A. If the complaint is accepted: Both parties (Complainant and Respondent) will receive a decision letter noting the case has been accepted, the scope of the proceedings, and if the case has been referred to mediation or adjudication. The OEPR (Office of Ethics and Professional Review) will then begin to schedule the date of the review and the parties will be notified of the next steps.
B. If not accepted: Parties will receive a decision letter noting the case has been rejected, and which criteria for acceptance were not met.
Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent may appeal the NEC Intake Subcommittee's decision to accept or reject an RPR or to close a case.
9. The Complaint will be referred to Mediation or Adjudication
If the RPR is accepted for review, the NEC Intake Subcommittee will determine whether the matter will be referred to mediation or adjudication.
Mediation: a collaborative problem-solving process in which a neutral third party guides a discussion intended to aid the parties in the dispute define the issues, obtain relevant information, and generate reasonable options for resolution.
Mediation is a conflict resolution process that is valued both as an element of social work practice and as a way to resolve grievances related to violations of ethics. Because mediation is a conflict resolution process in which the participants themselves decide on the outcome, NASW does not determine whether specific violations of the NASW Code of Ethics have or have not occurred.
Adjudication: the process of determining whether a professional action is in violation of the NASW Code of Ethics. When a RPR is referred for adjudication, a hearing is held to determine if the social worker’s action was indeed a violation of the Code. A report of the Hearing Panel’s conclusions is issued, and any appropriate recommendations are made.
- Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services (CPS) is the part of DSS that investigates reports of child abuse and neglect by parents, guardians, and caregivers. The best hope is that children are kept safe so they can stay in their own homes with their families. Even if there are some worries, DSS can work with families to keep children safe in their homes. Child safety is always the first concern of Child Protective Services. DSS helps families (parents, guardians, or other caregivers) build strength and support in different ways. DSS might refer the families for services that can improve parenting skills, help them get things they need, or assist the family with building a safety network of family and friends.
If there is a worry for the child’s safety, DSS might ask someone—like a relative or family friend—to move into the home temporarily as a protector to make sure the child is kept safe. If the home cannot be made safe, DSS will ask if the child can stay in someone else’s home (kinship care) until their own home is safe for them to go back. When families cannot provide safety for their child, Child Protective Services can go to court and ask a judge to bring the child into foster care for the child's protection.
How does DSS Help?
After receiving a report of child abuse or neglect, Intake looks at all the available information and decides whether the report meets the state law’s definition of child abuse and/or neglect. If it does, it is forwarded to Investigations so the family can be assessed. The investigator needs to find the answers to the following questions:
- What worries do we have about the children’s safety?
- How has the family been able to keep the children safe in the past?
- What needs to happen to keep the children safe in their home?
In many cases, a safety plan can be developed with a protector or kinship caregiver in place to ensure the child’s safety and well-being while DSS works with the family to lower the risk and increase the family’s ability to protect.
Children are best served when they can safely remain in their homes with their families intact. Sometimes, children might need to be temporarily placed outside of their home while DSS puts resources in place to meet a family’s specific needs. The purpose of the resources is to help a family change the behaviors that put their children at risk and increase the behaviors that can keep their children safe. If the family situation cannot be sufficiently improved to provide safety for the children, permanent placement outside of the family home might need to happen and DSS coordinates this process.
Drug Treatment Information Domestic Violence Family Engagement
Need to report abuse or neglect?
To report a potential case of child abuse or neglect, immediately contact the county DSS office where the child resides. Intake staff will assist the person making the report and assess the information provided to determine if an investigation is necessary. Local law enforcement offices can also file reports of potential abuse or neglect and ask DSS to investigate the case.
Report Abuse or Neglect
- Report Child Abuse and Neglect
- Foster Care
- Kinship Care
- Family-Centered Community Support Services
- Family Engagement Services
- For Health Care Providers
- Daniel's Law - Safe Haven for Babies
- Child Fatalities Dashboard
- Out-of-State Records Request
- Mandated Reporters
- COVID-19 Heightened Risks
Child Welfare Services Transformation
Best outcomes for children and families.
Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.
What information do I need to provide when I make a report? ... housework, farm work or any other activity - call the toll-free National Human Trafficking
When a report of child abuse or neglect is made, an initial assessment is made to ... the case is investigated by a social worker or special investigator.
Information will be made available to law enforcement to investigate. Child Welfare Information Gateway is not a hotline for reporting suspected child abuse
The following lists provide contact information and websites for related national and State organizations that offer information about child welfare.
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect in Writing ... Locate the mailing address for the social services agency. You can look up the mailing address on the
The hotline can provide information on how to make a report. The Child Welfare Information GatewayVisit disclaimer page provides helpful information about how
The social worker's job is to find out whether the report of abuse or ... In many cases, you may be able to make changes to keep your children at home
Anybody can make a voluntary report of suspected child abuse or neglect if ... A report can be made to your local county social services agency or to law
Find out if the social worker is a member of NASW * ... A report of the Hearing Panel's conclusions is issued, and any appropriate recommendations are made.
Intake staff will assist the person making the report and assess the information provided to determine if an investigation is necessary. Local law enforcement