Report Abuse and Neglect


Who Should Report?

Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a community responsibility. Most community members want to help but are unsure of how to get involved because it can be a difficult and confusing process. If you have concerns or worries that a child may have been harmed or neglected, you should make a report to Protective Services. It is important to not let discomfort or fear prevent you from contacting Protective Services, as the consequences of not reporting your concerns could be detrimental to a child’s safety.

Information you provide can help our professional staff determine a child’s safety, including whether an investigation or assessment is warranted, or what services may be beneficial to assist the family. Ohio law encourages everyone to act on behalf of children in need of protection and to report concerns or suspicions.

You do not need to have evidence or direct knowledge when making a report of abuse or neglect. You should report your concerns if you have a reasonable suspicion or belief a child is at risk of harm or unsafe. Information to support your concerns may include your observations, and information you were told by others, including the child or parent. The more specific and concrete information you can provide, the better. It is also important for you to know that Ohio has laws that protect individuals from legal liability, as long as the report was made in good faith.

What to Expect

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What happens after I make the referral?

After a referral is made, a Screening Decision Maker reviews the information within 24 hours of receipt to determine if the information meets criteria for an assessment/investigation. If the information in the referral does meet criteria to be screened in, a caseworker is assigned to complete the assessment/investigation with the family. If the information in the referral does not meet criteria to be screened in, the referral is stored electronically in a case file.

Will my concerns be assessed because I am a mandated reporter?

The Screening Decision Maker reviews the reported information to evaluate if it meets criteria for assessment/investigation. The decision to screen in or out is not based on who the caller is, but is instead based on the concerns stated by the caller and if the concerns meet statutory requirements/guidelines for a formal assessment/investigation. 

How do you know when to screen in versus screen out?

We are guided by the following Laws, Policies and Procedures:

Ohio Revised Code (ORC)

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC)

State screening guidelines

If I call a referral in and it is screened out, what happens next?

Your information will be captured in our computer system and we will maintain a record of the concerns reported.  If another call comes in on the same family, the history of referrals will be available to review.