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Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
To report suspected child abuse in your county, call:
Why Should You Report?
First and foremost to protect the child. The intent of the reporting law is not to hurt or to punish; it is to get help to children and families in need. All of us have a stake in the protection of children.
Infants and young children cannot speak for themselves. Often older children are afraid to use the protection of the law and need others to act for them. Parents who maltreat their children do not voluntarily request services.
Who Should Report?
Anyone who has reason to believe a child is being abused or neglected! All of us have a responsibility to report a child we suspect may be in danger. Ohio law encourages everyone to act on behalf of children in need of protection and to report suspicions to the appropriate authorities.
Certain Professionals, identified in Section 2151.421 of the Ohio Revised Code, are mandated to report any child they suspect may be, or is at risk of being, abused or neglected. Those required to report suspected child abuse and neglect include:
- Physicians including hospital interns and residents
- Speech Pathologists
- Practitioners of a limited branch of medicine or surgery as defined in R.C. 4731.15
- Children’s Services Workers
- Other health care professionals
- School authorities
- Employees of a certified child-care agency
- Day-Care Personnel
- School employees
- School psychologists
- School teachers
- Licensed prof. counselors
- Social Workers
A report can be made by telephone, in person, or in writing to the Children’s Services Agency in the county in which the child lives or was abused or to a law enforcement agency.
In Hamilton County, the Children’s Services Division of Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services, 222 East Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1225, receives reports.
CALL 241- KIDS (5437) 24-hour reporting number
In Butler County, the Children’s Services Board, 300 North Fair Avenue, Hamilton, OH 45011, receives reports.
CALL 513- 887- 4055 OR 1- 800- 325- 2685 24-hour reporting number
What Should You Report?
You should report any child under 18 years of age, or physically or mentally handicapped child under 21, who you have reason to believe has suffered any wound, injury, disability or condition of such a nature as to indicate abuse or neglect. It is important to note that you need only suspect—have reason to believe—that abuse or neglect is occurring. Physical proof or other forms of validation are not required. It is the responsibility of the children’s services agency, through its investigation, to determine if abuse or neglect is in fact occurring.
What information should you give?
- Name and address of the child you suspect is being abused or neglected
- Age of the child
- Name and address of the parent or caregiver of the child
- Name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the child
- The reason you suspect the child is being abused or neglected
- Any additional information you have about the family, such as other children in the home and ages of the children, child’s behavior, and parental capacities
It is helpful if you provide as much of this information as you can. You should not hesitate to report if you do not have all the information. We must at least have a description and location of the child. Any uncertainty regarding whether to report should be resolved in favor of the child’s protection.
You can choose to remain anonymous or choose to give your name. Mandated reporters can request the following information if they leave their name, address and telephone number:
- Whether Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (HCJFS) has initiated an investigation of the report
- Whether HCJFS is continuing to investigate the report
- Whether HCJFS is otherwise involved with the child who is the subject of the report
- The general status of the health and safety of the child who is the subject of the report
- Whether the report has resulted in filing a complaint in Juvenile Court or of criminal charges in another court by law enforcement officials
A report of suspected child abuse and neglect is confidential. Your identity will not be released or affirmed to anyone without your written consent, except through court process. Be aware that the reporter’s identity may be guessed by the parent; again, your identity is never affirmed. You are also protected from civil or criminal liability. By law, anyone participating in good faith in making a report is immune from any civil or criminal liability.
What Happens To Your Report?
Children’s Services begins a child welfare investigation within 24 hours of receipt of the report. The investigation is to determine the circumstance surrounding the injury, abuse or neglect; the cause thereof; and person or persons responsible. Investigations are made in cooperation with law enforcement officers who conduct the criminal investigation. The child welfare investigation is a social service function and can result in the provision of emergency and protective services. Ohio’s child abuse and neglect laws are not intended to punish but, instead, to help the family. Primary emphasis is placed upon preserving the family unit whenever possible through provision of supportive services. Children will be removed from the home when sufficient protection cannot be provided to guarantee their continued safety within the home environment.
When deciding whether to report suspected abuse/neglect, you should consider that, regardless of the circumstances, the abuse/neglect will not stop without professional intervention. Not to report is to allow the maltreatment to continue.
For questions about reporting child abuse and neglect, or about how to report in your area, contact the Council on Child Abuse at 513-684-7976.