Step 2: Report Child Abuse

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Deciding what to do when you suspect child abuse or neglect can be a difficult and confusing process.

Remember, you do not need to make a decision about whether abuse or neglect occurred; you are just reporting your concerns. Depending on where you live, you might report suspected abuse or neglect to your local Child Protective Services (CPS) agency. These agencies are sometimes called Social Services, Human Services, Human Welfare, or Children and Family Services.

Most states have child abuse hotlines set up to take calls related to child abuse and neglect. Those phone numbers can be found online or in your local phone book.

If you think that a child is in immediate danger, you should call your local police or 911 immediately.

Typically, the investigation of abuse and neglect complaints will be prioritized according to legal guidelines and the immediate risk to the child. Be patient and persistent. You may have to call more than once. Remember, a child may be counting on you to make that call.

Get more answers to your questions about reporting child abuse, then take Step 3: Understanding Child Abuse Laws.

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