Report Child Abuse

To report abuse or neglect: 1.877.237.0004 or click here.


Who Should Report Child Abuse?
Somewhere in your community there is a family who has a serious problem. The children in that family are being abused and neglected by their parents.
According to Tennessee law, all persons (including doctors, mental health professionals, child care providers, dentists, family members and friends) must report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. Failure to report child abuse or neglect is a violation of the law.
If you believe a child has been abused or neglected call 877-237-0004 to report it.
Possible Indicators of Abuse and Neglect:
• The child has repeated injuries that are not properly treated or adequately explained.
• The child begins acting in unusual ways ranging from disruptive & aggressive to passive & withdrawn.
• The child acts in the role of parent toward their brothers and sisters or even toward their own parents.
• The child may have disturbed sleep (nightmares, bed wetting, fear of sleeping alone, needing nightlight).
• The child loses his/her appetite, overeats, or may report being hungry.
• There is a sudden drop in school grades or participation in activities.
• The child may act in stylized ways, such as sexual behavior that is not normal for his/her age group.
• The child may report abusive or neglectful acts.
The above signs indicate that something is wrong but do not necessarily point to abuse. However, if you notice these signs early, you may be able to prevent abuse or neglect.

What Happens When I Call Central Intake?
When a person notifies the Department of Children's Services (DCS) regarding possible abuse or neglect of a child, Children's Services case managers determine how quickly to respond with an investigation. They must assess the referral information and focus on the present and future risks to the child.
Considering the condition of the child and the risk of future maltreatment helps a case manager know how to quickly to respond to an abuse or neglect referral and what priority to assign that referral.
DCS accepts reports of child maltreatment provided it meets the following three criteria:
• The report pertains to a child under the age of 18 years.
• The report alleges harm or imminent risk of harm to the child.
• The alleged perpetrator is:
� a parent or caretaker
� a relative or other person living in the home
� an educator, volunteer, employee of recreational/organizational setting who is responsible for the child
• any individual providing treatment, care or supervision for the child.
DCS accepts all referrals involving sexual abuse of children under the age of 13 years regardless of the previous relationship between the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator.
DCS does not investigate sexual abuse allegations of a child 13 to 18 years old by an alleged perpetrator who does not have a relationship with the child, as defined above unless the child is in the department's custody. DCS may assist law enforcement or the district attorney’s office in such cases.
Here’s the information you’ll be asked to provide if you call to report child abuse:
• Nature of the harm or specific incident(s) that precipitated the report
• Specific allegation(s), date(s) and descriptions(s) of the injuries or dangers Identities of alleged perpetrator(s) and their relationships to the victim
• Witnesses to the incident(s) and how to reach those witnesses
• Details of any physical evidence available
• Perpetrator’s current access to the child Present condition of the child (alone, in need of medical attention, etc.)
• The location of the child and directions to get there
• Any statements from the child Parent's or perpetrator's explanation of the alleged child victim's condition or the incident
• Parent's current emotional, physical or mental state, especially feelings about the child and reactions to the report
• How the reporter came to know the information and the reporter's thoughts about the likelihood of further harm to the child.
The reporter's identity is confidential, but a name should be given so the department could follow up with the reporter if necessary. The reporter is free from civil or criminal liability for reports of suspected child abuse or neglect made in good faith.
To report abuse or neglect: 1.877.237.0004 or click here.


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