Reporting Child Abuse

Reporting Child Abuse

If there is imminent danger, call 911.
24-hour hotline number is 707-445-6180.

Community members have an important role in protecting children from abuse and neglect. California law defines child abuse as any of the following:
  • Sexual Abuse—any sexual act against a minor by a parent, caretaker or member of the household or if the parent has failed to protect the child from sexual abuse
  • Physical Abuse—bodily injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means
  • Emotional Abuse—non-physical mistreatment that endangers a child's emotional health
  • General Neglect—failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred
  • Severe Neglect—refers to situations where the child's health and life is endangered, including severe malnutrition and failure to thrive
  • Exploitation—forcing or coercing a child into performing activities that are beyond the child's capabilities or which are illegal or degrading.

What are the criteria for reporting suspected child abuse/neglect?

  • The report pertains to a child under the age of 18 years.
  • The report alleges abuse, neglect or imminent risk of harm to the child.
  • The alleged perpetrator is:
    • A parent or caretaker
    • A relative or other person living in the home
    • An educator, volunteer or employee of a recreational/organizational setting who is responsible for the child; or any individual providing treatment, care or supervision for the child.

What information should be reported?

  • The nature of specific incident(s) you are reporting and:
    • Date(s) and descriptions(s) of the injuries or danger(s)
    • Identities of perpetrator(s) and their relationship(s) to the child
    • Witnesses to the incident(s) and how they may be reached
    • Details of any physical evidence available
    • The perpetrator's current access to the child
    • Present condition of the child (for example is the child in need of medical attention), the location of the child, and statements from the child(ren) when possible.

What happens when I report child abuse?

Child Welfare Services social work staff determines how to proceed by assessing the referral information and focusing on present and potential future risk to the child. An assessment tool assists the social worker to determine how to respond and what priority to assign that referral.

To schedule a Mandated Reporter Training, please call 707-445-6180.