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What Happens When a Case of Child Abuse or Neglect is Reported?

Updated: Dec 14, 2023


Children have been abused and neglected nearly as long as man has inhabited Earth. History

reveals how the Sumerians, five thousand years ago, had a man in charge of the whip to punish boys who stepped out of line. It was common for the ancient Greek philosophers to have sex with their young male students. The Spartans abandoned their weak and deformed children on hillsides or threw them into a deep canyon. In China and India, children were cast into rivers as offerings to water gods to bring good harvests. For most of history, children have been abandoned, beaten, sacrificed, sold, used in sex, murdered, even eaten. Very little was done to protect them.

Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect continue in our “modern” society. Each year, several

million cases of child abuse and neglected are reported to authorities in the United States. As

many as seven children die each day from abuse. About 12 abused children each day suffer brain damage. It is impossible to know exactly how many children suffer from emotional, physical or mental handicaps resulting from abuse and neglect.

Raising children is not easy. Slaps, angry remarks or refusal of affection or attention are common acts or omissions against children at some time done by nearly every parent. When these acts or omissions get out of hand, parents should seek help. Counseling is one means of getting help. Support groups such as Parents Anonymous offer another way to approach the problem. It is important that abusing parents know they are not alone. Other parents have similar problems. There are professionals and concerned people ready to help. Most abusive parents who reach out for help become able to better control their problems and care for their children.

What can we do about this national tragedy? How can we save children from further abuse and neglect? One answer is citizen involvement. If you are concerned about child abuse and neglect, get involved. If you need better parenting skills, seek help. If you suspect child abuse and neglect, REPORT IT! Your concerned involvement can make an important difference in the lives of America’s abused and neglected children.

A suspected case of child abuse or neglect goes through a series of stages where decisions are made about whether a child was abused or neglected and how to handle the case. What follows is a brief description of the stages.

Referral – Referral is the process of reporting a case of suspected child abuse or neglect.

Child Abuse Hotline – The child abuse hotline is a 24-hour toll-free telephone line established

by law to receive reports of suspected child abuse or neglect and to relay the information to the proper agency for investigation.

Child Protective Services – CPS is a special unit in each state and local Department of Human Services responsible for investigating suspected child abuse and neglect.

Law Enforcement – Report the most serious cases of child abuse and neglect - and those

committed by persons outside the family - to law enforcement officials for possible criminal

investigation and prosecution. Serious cases include homicide, serious bodily injury, sexual

abuse and exploitation. Law enforcement officials involved in cases of child abuse are the police, district attorney and courts.

Investigation – Investigation involves collecting information and evidence about the case. The

investigator visits the home, interviews the child, parents and other parties who may have

information important to the case. Other information also is collected, such as medical records,

school records, other agency records and any other information important to the case.

Prosecution – Prosecution means there is enough reason to file criminal charges against the


Case Withdrawn – Case withdrawn means there is not enough reason to continue agency


Case Management – Case management is the coordination of services to the client. A

caseworker monitors the home situation and oversees the delivery of services required to protect the child and treat the family problem.

Alternative Placement – Alternative placement is taking the child from the family because

authorities believe the child is in danger of further abuse or neglect or because a different setting may better meet the child’s needs. Alternative placements sometimes involve family relative, placing the child in foster care, a group home, an institution or may result in adoption.

Treatment Services – The child as well as the family receive treatment services. Services may

include daycare, foster parents, parent education, health care, family planning, psychotherapy, casework, psychiatric services, counseling, group therapy or individual and family therapy.

Case Closed – A case of child abuse or neglect is closed when the child is no longer at risk of

abuse or neglect.

Agencies to Contact About Child Abuse & Neglect

National Child Abuse Hotline – The National Child Abuse Hotline is a toll-free number that

can be called from anywhere in the United States and is available around the clock.

Telephone #1-800-422-4453

Police Department – Most police departments have at least one officer responsible for juvenile

matters or an officer who investigates crimes against persons.

Telephone # 911

Child Protective Services – CPS is a special unit in each state and local Department of Human Services responsible for investigating suspected child abuse and neglect.

Telephone # Check your local phone book*

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1 comentário

Denis Mercier
Denis Mercier
26 de jan.

Ugly subject. Beautiful solutions. Bravo, WGF!❤️

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