The incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States is reaching frightening numbers. To facilitate the timely and accurate reporting of these incidents, B.A.C.E. (Businesses Against Child Exploitation) shares resources and contact information with our readers, including a list of child abuse hotlines.
Child Abuse Continues To Rise
The number of child abuse and neglect reports, and unfortunately the number of child deaths attributable to abuse, is headed in the wrong direction. According to the latest published reports, 2015 statistics located on the American Society for the Positive Treatment of Children web page, should be a wake-up call. Statistics published here from the latest Child Maltreatment Report from the Children’s Bureau indicate an increase in the number of child abuse referrals from 3.6-million in 2014 to 4-million in 2015. And the number of child deaths from child abuse and neglect climbed from 1,580 to 1,670 in that same time frame. Effective child abuse hotlines have never been more critical in reversing that trend.
Mandatory Reporting Versus Permissive Reporting
In responsibly sharing accurate contact information about reporting to child abuse hotlines, it is important to understand the difference between a “mandatory” child abuse reporter and a “permissive” reporter.
In general terms, most states require that any adult who has knowledge of child abuse and neglect is obligated to report it. But a majority of states have identified specific occupations and professional vocations considered to be “mandatory” reporters directly related to their supervisory and custodial relationships with children and minors. A good explanation of the difference between mandatory and permissive reporters can be found at FindLaw.com, along with a list of occupations and professions considered to be “mandatory reporters. Those occupations regardless of what state you may reside, generally include:
- Day Care Workers
- Dental Assistants & Hygienists
- Doctor’s Office Staff Persons
- Emergency Medical Technicians
- Family Practitioners
- Foster Care Workers
- Hospital Personnel
- Medical Examiners
- Nurse Practitioners
- Police Officers
- Practical Nurses
- Psychiatrists & Psychologists
- Registered Nurses
- School Administrators, Advisors, Paraprofessionals
- Social Workers
- Teachers & Teacher’s Aides.
You will also find readily available via a link on this page, a state-by-state breakdown of those occupations considered to be “mandatory” reporters under each respective state’s laws. There is also a good legal definition distinguishing between “mandatory” and “permissive” reporting with a few real-life examples to illustrate the contrast.
State-by-State Contact Information
Almost every state has some type of child abuse hotline for reporting. CAPS (Child Abuse Prevention Services) has compiled contact information in one centralized location at its webpage, including the name of the appropriate state office authority responsible for child abuse and neglect reporting. The information here also includes state-by-state toll-free numbers for these agencies as well as each state’s child abuse hotline webpage link.
Some state hotlines and web pages have a separate section that can be accessed for “mandatory” reporters and a separate portal for “permissive” reporting. There are additional national organizations dedicated to operating hotlines and information web pages to respond to the crisis of child abuse and neglect. They include the Child Welfare Information Gateway which lists hotline contacts and resources for reporting the following:
- Child Abuse
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Family Violence
- Help for Parents
- Human Trafficking
- Mental Illness
- Missing/Abducted Children
- Substance Abuse
- Suicide Prevention
- Youth In Trouble/Runaways
Listed below are additional links and resources to help guide readers and child abuse reporters to child abuse hotlines: