This section is for Adults helping a suffering child who is not your own.
Do you suspect that a child is being abused, but it isn’t your child?
If you have a good relationship with a person who loves the child, share the information about abuse from these pages with that person.
If the person is unwilling to call law enforcement or Children’s Protective Services, do it yourself.
You are probably wondering:
Do I have to report it? It depends on the state you live in. Most states have “mandated reporters”, people such as teachers, school nurses and doctors, who must report their suspicions of child abuse to the designated state agency. In some states, anyone who suspects child abuse has a legal obligation to report it to the agency that the state has assigned the job of preventing and helping child abuse victims.
What if I don’t report it? If you are a mandated reporter, you could be charged with failing to report the abuse. But far more importantly, if people like you think the child is suffering and do nothing, the child will continue to suffer when you could have helped. The longer a child is subjected to abuse, the likelier the child is to be an unhappy and unsuccessful adult, and to be a burden on our social systems. For more on the economic and social costs of child abuse, click here.
Can I stay anonymous? Some states will take your report anonymously. Others may ask you to identify yourself, but your identity will not be revealed in any investigation.
What happens when I call? Usually, a caseworker from Children’s Protective Services will visit the family and speak with the child and the child’s caretakers. The caseworker may also speak with the child’s teachers, neighbors, and anyone who can provide information on whether the child is being abused according to the state’s definition.
Will the child be automatically taken from the parents? No. What happens depends on what the caseworker finds out. If the agency determines that the child’s life or safety is in immediate danger, the child will be placed in a safe situation while the investigation proceeds.
It the child is taken from the parents, what happens next? Most state agencies will work with the family in an effort to make it possible for the child to return home. When that is impossible, the child is placed in foster care and an adoptive family is sought.
Who shall I call? If you do not know the number of your local Children’s Protective Services, click here now. Every person seeking help from Justice for Children MUST ccomplete the Intake Form on the right. If the child in need is not related to you, we may still be able to help.