Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect. Child abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. No matter what your role is—parent or other family member, coach, teacher, religious leader, babysitter—you have the power to make a positive difference in this child’s life.
Reporting a crime like child abuse may not be easy, and it can be emotionally draining. Keep in mind that reporting abuse gives you the chance to protect someone who can’t protect themselves.
Depending on where you live and your role in the child’s life, you may be legally obligated to report suspicions of abuse. Are you a New York State mandated reporter? Click here to find out.
Prepare your thoughts. Provide a complete, honest account of what you observed that led you to suspect the occurrence of child abuse or neglect. You will likely be asked for identifiable information about the child, the nature of the abuse, and your relationship with the child.While anonymous tips are always an option, identified reporting increases the likelihood of prosecuting the perpetrator.
The person who answers your telephone call to the hotline is a child protective specialist. It is his or her responsibility to interview to get as much information as possible during your telephone call to determine if a report should be registered. Among the questions they may ask you are:
If and when the report is accepted by the NYS Child Abuse Hotline it will be sent to Child Protective Services and/or Law Enforcement.
CPS and/or LE will conduct their initial investigation to evaluate the safety of the child named in the report and any other children in the home. It also will include a determination of risk if they continue to remain in the home.
The case will then be referred to the CARE Center by CPS, LE, or District Attorney’s Offices. CARE Center staff will coordinate with MDT members to set up a forensic interview and medical exam, if necessary.
At the time of the interview there will be a victim advocate present to provide information regarding the legal process and answer any questions that the child and non-offending family members have. The advocate will also provide information regarding referrals for mental health/counseling services.
CPS has 60 days after receiving the report of child abuse or maltreatment to determine whether the report is “indicated” or “unfounded.” The law requires CPS to provide written notice to the parents or other subjects of the report concerning their rights under the New York State Social Services Law. CPS also will report back to the Statewide Central Register the final determination of their investigation.