April is National Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month – an opportunity to share helpful resources and hotline numbers, so you will be prepared if you witness or suspect child abuse or neglect.
Upbring Foster In Texas, the largest nonprofit foster placement and adoption agency in Texas, believes that as members of a caring community, we all share responsibility for helping to raise healthy children prepared to embrace successful lives.
Our mission is to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities. With more than 13 percent of U.S. children subject to abuse or neglect by a caregiver each year, maltreatment of children is a pervasive problem affecting kids of every age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic background.
What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
Child abuse can broadly be defined as an act—or failure to act—that results in a child’s serious harm or risk of harm, including physical or emotional harm, exploitation or death. Neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide for a child’s basic needs.
|· Abandonment||· Assault||· Baby crying too long|
|· Beatings||· Bullying||· Neglect|
|· Self-injury||· Runaways||· Suicide|
|· Medical Neglect||· Molestation||· Drugs/Alcohol|
What if you witness abuse or neglect?
If you are certain that a child’s safety is at immediate risk – due to abuse or neglect that could result in serious harm or death – call 911. Emergency situations include, but are not limited to a recent threat or act of violence.
What if you suspect child abuse or neglect?
What if you suspect child abuse or neglect in a home or a child-care facility or treatment centers, but an emergency response is not required? Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a Statewide Hotline where trained staff take calls about children in trouble – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Statewide Intake, toll-free hotline is 800-252-5400. You can also file a report via the DFPS secure website and get a response within 24 hours. DFPS cannot accept email reports of suspected abuse or neglect.
What happens next?
After your initial child abuse complaint is filed, the DFPS employee responding may ask you several follow-up questions to ensure there is enough information available for the investigative team to determine if abuse/neglect has occurred.
Examples of answers you may be asked to provide:
- names and ages of the family members and child(ren) involved
- specific examples for suspecting abuse (if physical abuse you will be asked to describe injury)
- names, addresses and telephone numbers of other witnesses (i.e., collaterals)
- your relationship to the alleged victim
- any other previous suspicious injury to the child
- other federal mandated questions regarding physical environment information and gang relation by potential perpetrators
- your name, address and telephone number (DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential).
Additional Print Resources:
Download a pdf for complete information and reporting basics
Read DFPS FAQs*
Training for Texas school staff on reporting abuse
Crisis Hotlines & Connections:
- ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline
ChildHelp can help connect survivors to counseling; residential treatment services; children’s advocacy centers; therapeutic foster care; group homes; child abuse prevention and education and training.
- Child Welfare
The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a resource of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, connects child welfare and related professionals to comprehensive information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families.
- Prevent Child Abuse America
preventchildabuse.org| Information and Referral Hotline: 800-CHILDREN (800-244-5373)
Prevent Child Abuse America builds awareness, provides education and inspires hope to everyone involved in the effort to prevent child abuse.
- Futures Without Violence
Futures Without Violence works to prevent violence within the home, and in the community, to help those whose lives are devastated by violence.
* Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Timeframes for investigating reports are based on the severity of the allegations. Reporting suspected abuse makes it possible for a family to get help.