Help a suffering child
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.
Ayudar a un niño que lo necesita ahora.
Justice for Children provides guidance through the legal and judicial processes, assists in court watch, and advocates on behalf of children to law enforcement and other governmental agencies. JFC connects individuals with legal resources including pro bono attorneys and helps with protective orders. Justice for Children JFC is also involved in a variety of legal research projects and has contributed to amicus briefs, researching legal issues and providing data on important legal issues affecting the rights of abused children.
Justice for Children assists and refers several thousand callers annually through the complicated and unsympathetic maze of governmental agencies established to protect abused children. Advocating for an abused or neglected child takes on many different forms of participation and involvement. These include researching and gathering supporting documentation; reviewing supporting documentation; referring persons to professionals; guiding them through the legal and judicial process; providing legal assistance with protective orders; initiating child abuse investigations; serving as a liaison to law enforcement and other governmental agencies; generating advocacy correspondence and amicus briefs; acting as facilitator of professional services; court watch; and providing pro bono legal representation and connecting persons with attorneys.
Justice for Children has proposed and drafted legislation to improve the laws pertaining not only to child abuse and child protection, but also laws concerning the funding for protective services. We have also presented legislation designed to make the legal process more child-friendly. Additionally, because of its experience in this area, Justice for Children receives numerous requests to provide testimony regarding various pieces of legislation around the country.
Justice for Children has traditionally provided information and materials to combat child abuse and to educate the public of the signs and symptoms of child abuse or neglect in its efforts to interrupt its dismal cycle. In 2012, it is initiating a project called “Just in Time”, to develop a series of informational and instructional modules to be placed on its website. Each is designed specifically to aid a field on the front lines of identifying and re-mediating child abuse: the community, medical first responders, school personnel, pediatricians, court personnel, and counseling professionals.
We seek to collaborate with other concerned national and community leaders, professionals, institutions, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies to further a common goal of solving the deficiencies in our present child protective systems. By expanding our relationships within the community and on a national level, we are working to create a system that will effectively handle a child’s initial report of abuse, provide immediate safety, and ultimately, prosecute and convict the child abuser.
Justice for Children’s expert opinion continues to be recognized and valued by local and national media, legal and medical professionals, child abuse experts, and various other children’s rights organizations. We have been featured on ABC’s Primetime Live, ABC’s prime-time documentary entitled ‘Crimes Against Children,’ a PBS documentary entitled ‘Boy Crying, Baby Crying,” as well as appearances on Good Morning America, Donahue, the Discovery channel’s “Justice Files,’ HBO and in 2011, the BBC.