What happens when I report child abuse?

When a person calls the Child Abuse Hotline regarding possible abuse or neglect of a child, a Risk and Safety assessment is completed and a decision is made about how quickly to respond to the report. Response times may be within 24 hours, 10 days, or not at all. If there is no legally defined abuse allegation, the report will be taken and recorded but there will be no in-person response.

When an in-person response is complete, there are several possible outcomes for the family and the child(ren). The investigation may conclude that there is no evidence of abuse or neglect and the case is closed with no further action. The conclusion may be that there is no evidence of abuse or neglect, but the family may be referred for services that will benefit them such as parenting, anger management, or counseling. The investigation may determine that abuse or neglect issues exist, but may be resolved by providing Family Maintenance Services. Family Maintenance Services allow the children to stay in the home while the Children's Services Division works with the family and other service organizations to help the family.

Finally, the investigation may conclude that the child is not safe in his/her home and must be removed from the care of the parent or caretaker. In these instances, court proceedings are initiated. Juvenile Court involvement will continue until the child may be safely reunified with the parent or caretaker or the Children's Services Division establishes a permanent plan for the child when the child may not be safely reunified with the parent or caretaker.

Confidentiality: The name of the reporting party is confidential. It is not disclosed to the victim, their family, or the alleged abuser.