Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect.
Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get
help for a family -- it may even save a child's life.
All persons that work with children are mandated
The Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis
counselors who have access to a large database of emergency,
social service, and support resources. All calls are
anonymous. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, report
it--and keep reporting it--until something is done.
Contact child protective services (in your local phone
book) or your local police department so professionals
can assess the situation.
You may also call one of the following child abuse
reporting numbers in your area:
District of Columbia
Toll-Free (877) 671-SAFE
Local (toll): (202) 671-7233
Toll-Free (800) 552-7096
Local (toll): (804) 786-8536
Toll-Free (800) 332-6347
Hours are 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline… (202)-671-SAFE
Montgomery County… (240) 777-4417
Prince George’s County… (301) 808-5624
Arlington County… (703) 228-5100
Alexandria County… (703) 838-4444
National Child Abuse Hotline… (800) 4
Advocates for Youth… (202) 419-3420
Stress Line for Families… (202) 544-5440
DC Rape Crisis Center… (202) 333-RAPE
Justice for Children… (202) 667-1160
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence… (202)
National Center for Victims of Crime… (800)
National Organization for Victim Assistance… (800)
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…
What will happen when I make a report?
Your report of possible child maltreatment will first
be screened by hotline staff or a child protective service
worker. If the worker feels there is enough credible
information to indicate that maltreatment may have occurred
or is at risk of occurring, your report will be referred
to staff who will conduct an investigation.
Investigators respond within a particular time period
(anywhere from a few hours to a few days), depending
on the potential severity of the situation. They may
speak with the child, the parents, and other people
in contact with the child (such as doctors, teachers,
or childcare providers). Their purpose is to determine
if abuse or neglect has occurred and if it may happen
again. If the investigator finds that no abuse or neglect
occurred, or what happened does not meet your state’s
definition of abuse or neglect, the case will be closed
and the family may or may not be referred elsewhere
for services. If the investigator feels the children
are at risk of harm, the family may be referred to services
to reduce the risk of future maltreatment. These may
include mental health care, medical care, parenting
skills classes, employment assistance, and concrete
support such as financial or housing assistance. In
rare cases where the child’s safety cannot be
ensured, the child may be removed from the home.
The names of reporters are not given out to families
reported for child abuse or neglect; however, sometimes
by the nature of the information reported, your identity
may become evident to the family. You may request to
make your report anonymously, but your report may be
considered more credible and can be more helpful to
the child protection services if you give your name.
Your suspicion of child abuse or neglect is enough to
make a report. You are not required to provide proof.
Almost every state has a law to protect people who make
good-faith reports of child abuse from prosecution and/or
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Gateways to Prevention: What Everyone Can Do to Prevent
Child Abuse. 2003 Child Abuse Prevention Community Resource