To make a report of suspected child abuse, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. You can also report online at www.txabusehotline.org. If you feel the child is in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement by calling 911.
There are several pieces of information that the call taker will be looking to obtain from someone making a report of suspected child abuse. This information can help make the reporting process easier and the child more identifiable. It is helpful to have as much of this information as possible, but not all of the information is needed to call in a report. Be as specific as possible.
- The names and ages of the child/children involved
- Where the child/children live or go to school
- Parent/caregiver names, relationship to child, and contact information
- Any identifying information for any person involved (child, caregiver, perpetrator)
- Why you are making the report – what kind of abuse, child’s condition, behaviors, etc.
Reporting child abuse makes it possible for the family to get help. Child abuse cases are handled in a variety of ways, many of which you may not see. This could include requiring parenting classes, counseling, referral assistance, and/or removal of the child from the home. Even if there is no action taken, your call can begin or continue to show a pattern within a family that may require intervention in the future.
CPS workers must complete investigation actions within 30 days from the date the report was received by the agency, unless a supervisor approves an extension. All reports are referred tot he appropriate law enforcement agency for possible criminal prosecution.
Reports of child abuse or neglect are classified in two groups. The priority of the intake determines timeframes for initiating the investigation.
- Priority 1 reports include all reports of children who appear to face an immediate risk of abuse or neglect that could result in death or serious harm. Investigations of these reports must be initiated within 24 hours of receiving the call report.
- Priority 2 reports include all reports of abuse or neglect that are not assigned as Priority 1. These investigations must be initiated within 72 hours of receiving the report.
Not all reports will be assigned for investigation because some will not meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect. Reasons for not assigning include: the situation does not appear to involve a reasonable likelihood that a child will be abused or neglected in the foreseeable future; the allegations are too vague or general to determine whether a child has been abused or neglected; the report does not give enough information to locate the child or the child’s family; or the situation is already under investigation, in which case, staff are to merge the intake with the open investigation.
If you request that your identity be kept confidential, DFPS may not reveal your identity to the child’s parents, to alleged perpetrators, or to others without consent or a court order. However, they may disclose your identity to the district attorney or law enforcement if the case requires further investigation.
Upon completion of the investigation, a reporter will receive a notification of findings letter. This letter will not contain specific information regarding the investigation. If you believe CPS has not acted appropriately in a situation involving you, you have a right to file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Affairs (1-800-720-7777, firstname.lastname@example.org).