Report Abuse and Neglect


Who Should Report

Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a community responsibility. Most adults want to help, but are unsure how to get involved. Often times, reaching out to a neighbor or relative to offer assistance is a great way to become involved. If you have worries or concerns that a child may have already been harmed or neglected, figuring out what steps to take can be a difficult and confusing process. Most importantly is to not let discomfort or fear of contacting Child Protective Services interfere with helping keep children safe. While these fears can be understandable, the consequences for not reporting your concerns could be seriously 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?

In those cases that meet the criteria, Child Protective Services makes every effort to preserve family integrity without putting the child in danger.  If circumstances in the home endanger the child's safety and cannot be remedied, sometimes placement out of the home is necessary.

In these instances, both relatives and non-relatives (kinship) are explored as a first option. Child Protective Services makes every effort to involve and place children with appropriate, willing kinship caregivers.   Placement services such as foster care may be used temporarily, while efforts are made to resolve problems in the home.  If the problems which initially caused removal of the children from their home cannot be resolved, then the agency is required to seek alternative and permanent solutions for children.

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

The supervisor reviews the reported information to evaluate if it meets criteria for assessment or 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.  If the concerns meet statutory requirements and guidelines for a formal investigation/assessment the referral will be screened in, regardless of whether the caller is a mandated reporter.

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.