When you report daycare violations and suspicions of abuse, you not only help protect your own child, but other children as well.
One of the biggest problems associated with child abuse at daycare is that far too many people overlook the warning signs and fail to report their suspicions. Sometimes this is because people don’t want to get involved (even though most states allow you to remain anonymous), but in other cases, it’s simply because they don’t know how to go about properly making the initial report. To help with this, we’ve taken the liberty of providing accurate information on how exactly to report child abuse and daycare licensing violations in all 50 states (plus DC).
It’s important to note that if you’re aware of an incident where a child is being physically abused, sexually abused, or is otherwise in immediate danger, disregard this article and call 9-1-1 right now.
If you have a legitimate concern regarding potential (suspected or known) child abuse, neglect, standards violations, or the welfare of children under someone’s care, find your state listed below for instructions on how to report it to the proper authorities.
It is not your responsibility to determine whether your suspicions are valid, or to investigate those suspicions. All that’s asked of you is that if you have a concern, to please make a report so that it can be properly investigated.
Can I Press Charges or File a Lawsuit?
While it is up to police whether or not criminal charges are ultimately filed—and up to local licensing divisions whether or not administrative penalties are assessed or licenses revoked—parents may have the option of pursuing a civil claim (lawsuit) against the daycare facility in question in order to hold the provider financially responsible for any losses that result from the abuse (e.g., medical bills, therapy, counseling, alternative child care, etc).
To discuss the legal options available to you and your family moving forward, please call the Rasansky Law Firm for a free consultation at 1-877-403-9378.
Reporting Daycare Abuse by State
The following list is intended to help those who are wish to report potential child abuse/neglect event in a daycare center, but may also be used to report instances of child abuse occurring elsewhere. If you believe the child in question is in immediate danger, we urge you to call the local police department immediately with your concerns.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources suggests that you call your County Department of Human Resources (or local law enforcement agency) to report suspected abuse or neglect. You can find your county’s contact information here.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Office of Children’s Services guides you to one of four agencies, depending on your location.
- For those in Anchorage or the western region of AK, you may call 1-800-478-4444 or email AncIntake@alaska.gov.
- In the southeast region, call 1-888-622-1650 or email email@example.com.
- For those in the southcentral region, call 1-855-352-8934 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Finally, for those in the northern region, call 1-800-353-2650 or email email@example.com.
If you have a concern regarding a childcare provider or have questions about Child Care Licensing regulations, please contact the Child Care Program Office toll-free at 1-888-268-4632 or by email at CCPO@alaska.gov.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) directs those wishing to report child abuse or neglect to the Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445).
The Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) asks that you report any and all instances of suspected child abuse by calling the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-482-5964.
California offers a few different avenues for parents who wish to report child abuse, or to voice their complaints and concerns about a childcare program.
- If you have a complaint about a state-licensed child care facility in California, the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) asks that you call 1-844-LET-US-NO (1-844-538-8766). Alternatively, you may also contact the Child Care Program Office where the daycare in question is located. To see a list of Child Care Program Offices in California, click here.
- The Child Care Advocate Program (CCAP) can assist in the coordination of complaints and concerns on behalf of children in child care. CCAP can be reached by phone at (916) 654-1541 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2015, the Colorado Department of Human Services’ opened a new, statewide hotline providing a simple toll-free phone number for people to call to report child abuse or neglect. The number is 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437), and callers will now be able to speak with a representative 24 hours a day (see website).
According to the the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), anyone who suspects that a child has been abused or neglected (or is in danger of abuse or neglect) is strongly encouraged to call the Child Abuse and Neglect Careline at 1-800-842-2288. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The operator will gather critical information from you in order to determine if the report meets Connecticut’s statutory criteria for child abuse or neglect. Reports that meet these criteria are forwarded to a DCF case investigator for prompt and appropriate action.
Delaware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families directs visitors to submit child abuse complaints—and complaints against child care facilities—via the report line at 1-800-292-9582. You may also submit a report online by following this link.
The Florida Safe Families Network’s Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment. You can make a report over the phone by calling 1-800-962-2873, or online by clicking here. Alternatively, you can fax your report to 1-800-914-0004.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Division of Family and Children Services directs those who wish to submit a report of child abuse or neglect to the DFCS Child Protective Center at 1-855-GACHILD (1-855-422-4453). Additionally, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) directs those who wish to file a complaint about a child care program to contact Bright from the Start at (404) 657-5562.
The Hawaii Department of Human Services website states that if you have a complaint or allegation concerning the abuse or neglect of a child, you should contact the Department of Human Services’ Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1-808-832-5300 for Oahu, and 1-800-494-3991 for neighbor islands.
Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare asks that all reports of suspected child abuse, neglect or abandonment be made via their toll-free hotline 1-855-552-KIDS (1-855-552-5437).
The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) provides a Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873). Alternatively, if you feel as though the daycare has violated licensing standards, you can make a report to the licensing representative assigned to your provider (find your representative here). DCFS says that you may make this type of complaint by mail, e-mail, fax, or in-person.
The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) established the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-800-800-5556) in order to ensure consistent handling of calls alleging child abuse and neglect. The Hotline is staffed with specially-trained family case managers, know as intake specialists, who are professionally trained to take reports of abuse and neglect.
The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) asks anyone who wishes to report suspected instances of child abuse to call their Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-362-2178 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Alternatively, if you wish to make a complaint about a child care provider, please contact the Child Care Complaint Hotline at 1-844-786-1296.
According to the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), provides a helpful Guide to Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect, which states that reports of suspected child abuse or neglect should be made to the Kansas Protection Report Center (KPRC) at 1-800-922-5330.
Kentucky directs complaints about child care centers to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG). Filing a complaint is not difficult or time consuming, and you can remain anonymous. Just call (502) 564-7962 or click here to find your specific branch office. Reports can even be made online. If you have reasonable cause to believe that a child is being physically abused, sexually abused or is neglected, please call the Child Abuse Hot Line at 1-800-752-6200 or 1-877-597-2331.
Those wishing to report instances of child abuse in Louisiana are asked to call the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) Child Protection Hotline at 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437). The call is toll-free and answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Care Licensing Division directs those wishing to report child abuse and/or neglect to call the Maine Child Welfare Advisory Panel 24 hours a day at 1-800-452-1999. The Child Abuse Action Network is a multidisciplinary task force comprised of individuals from selected disciplines involved in handling child abuse and neglect cases.
The Maryland Department of Human Resources website states that if you suspect a child is being abused, you should report your suspicions to the local department of social services in the jurisdiction where you believe the abuse or neglect took (or is taking) place, or contact a local law enforcement agency. Reports may be made anonymously.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) instructs those wishing to report suspected or known child abuse and/or neglect to immediately call the 24-hour DCF Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-792-5200, or a local DCF office.
Michigan’s Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) directs those wishing to make a complaint regarding abuse, neglect or exploitation in a child-caring institution to call 1-855-444-3911 (toll-free). Complaints alleging violations of the facility’s governing act and rules for a child caring institution can be made online or by phone at 1-844-313-3447.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect in Minnesota, contact your county or tribal social services agency or the police. If it is an emergency, call 911 immediately. For general questions regarding child protection, email Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) at Dhs.Child.Safety-Permanency@state.mn.us.
The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services provides an online form to report suspicions of daycare abuse and neglect that do not require an emergency response. If you wish to remain anonymous or cannot accurately fill out the online form, you’re asked to call their centralized intake department at 1-800-222-8000.
If you suspect child abuse, neglect or exploitation at a child care facility in Missouri, contact the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738. Complaints are assigned to a local child care specialist for investigation, and depending on the seriousness of the violation, they are referred to the central office for possible legal action. Complaints regarding violations of a regulated child care program should be made either by phone to your local child care district office, or online using the form at the bottom of this page.
Montana’s Department of Public Health & Human Services’ Child & Family Services Division directs those wishing to report a possible case of child abuse or neglect to call 1-866-820-5437 (toll-free). To file a complaint regarding a child care facility in Montana, you may use the online reporting form found on this page.
State law requires any person who suspects that a child has been physically or sexually abused or neglected to report it promptly to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services via their hotline at 1-800-652-1999. DHHS will investigate all reports of suspected child abuse and neglect that meet the screening criteria. The Department and police work together on reports and the police may also do an investigation. Due to the confidential nature of the investigation, the person who reports the abuse cannot be informed of the action taken or the result of the report.
Those in Nevada wishing to make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect are asked to call child protective services (CPS) at 1-800-992-5757 unless the abuse took place in Clark or Washoe Counties. In Washoe County, call (775) 785-8600. In Clark County, call (702) 399-0081 or submit a report online. A report of suspected child abuse or neglect is only a request for an investigation. The person making the report does not need to prove or provide proof that abuse has, or may have occurred. When you report child abuse or neglect, your name is confidential and cannot be disclosed. Reports can also be made anonymously.
If a child tells you that he or she has been hurt, or you are concerned that a child may be the victim of any type of abuse or neglect, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services asks that you call the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Central Intake Unit at 1-800-894-5533 (open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday). During non-office hours, you’re advised to please call your local police department. Reports of abuse and neglect concerns are confidential and can be anonymous.
To file an official complaint against a child care facility in New Hampshire, contact the NH Department of Health & Human Services’ Child Care Licensing Unit at (603) 271-9025 or (800) 852-3345, ext. 9025. You may also contact them online via this email form.
In New Jersey, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse (or acts of abuse) should immediately report this information to the State Central Registry (SCR) Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873). A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously. This is a toll-free, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week hotline.
New Mexico Protective Services receives reports of alleged child maltreatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the Statewide Central Intake hotline at 1-855-333-SAFE (1-855-333-7233) or #SAFE from mobile phones. The NM Children, Youth & Families Division investigates reports of child maltreatment and intervene to keep New Mexico’s children safe. When making a report of abuse or neglect, you may choose to remain anonymous, and will be immune from liability, civil or criminal, as long as you have acted in good faith by reporting.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, call the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment: 1-800-342-3720 (call 311 in NYC). They will notify the local Child Protective Services, which is part of the county Department of Social Services. CPS will investigate and act to protect the child and to help the parent(s). See more on what happens when I report suspected child abuse.
You need to have only a reasonable suspicion of child abuse. You do not have to prove it or be absolutely certain. If you make a report in good faith, you are immune from civil or criminal liability.
According to North Carolina’s Department of Health & Human Resources’ Division of Social Services, if you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you must report what you know to the county Department of Social Services. A listing of all 100 county Departments of Social Services can be found here.
If you believe that a child care provider—such as a daycare facility—fails to meet the minimum state requirements for licensure, or if you have questions or complaints regarding a licensed child care facility, please call the Division of Child Development and Early Education at 1-919-662-4527 or 1-800-859-0829.
You can also receive help with your report by calling Childhelp USA’s National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453), 24 hours a day.
The North Dakota Department of Human Services says that a person mandated to report, or any person wanting to report suspected child abuse or neglect in North Dakota, should contact the County Social Service Office in the county where the child abuse is alleged to have occurred. Each of the 53 County Social Service Offices serve as the N.D. Department of Human Services’ designee for child protection services.
Ohioans who suspect child abuse or neglect now only need to remember one toll-free phone number in order to make an official report: 1-855-O-H-CHILD (1-855-642-4453). This automated telephone service will link callers directly to a child welfare or law enforcement office in their county where a report can be made. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ website, reports can be made anonymously.
Persons having reason to believe that a child under 18 years of age is a victim of abuse or neglect are required by Oklahoma Statutes to promptly report it to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-522-3511. If you’re concerned that a particular day care facility may be violating licensing requirements, call the OKDHS child care licensing specialist in your county by visiting this link.
Report child abuse to a local office of the Department of Human Services (DHS) or a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police. You can also call 1-855-503-SAFE (1-855-503-7233). This toll-free number allows you to report abuse or neglect of any child (or adult) to the Oregon Department of Human Services. Please be ready to provide identifying information and the whereabouts of the victim. You may remain anonymous.
The Pennsylvania ChildLine and Abuse Registry Intake Unit (1-800-932-0313) is available 24 hours a day to receive reports of suspected child abuse. Any person may report suspected abuse, even if the individual wishes to remain anonymous. Each call is answered by a trained intake specialist who will interview the caller to determine the most appropriate course of action moving forward. If you are a mandated reporter, you may submit your report online.
The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families directs those wishing to report instances of suspected child abuse and neglect to the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-RI-CHILD (1-800-742-4453). If your complaint is about licensing issues rather than child abuse per se, you may call the Child Care Licensing Unit at (401) 528-3624 or (401) 528-3621.
If you wish to make a report of suspected child abuse and neglect in a child care facility in South Carolina, scchildcare.org directs you to call the Out-of-Home Abuse and Neglect Unit at 1-803-898-7669 from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., or 1-800-645-9789 after hours. Alternatively, the South Carolina Department of Social Services asks that complaints of abuse or neglect be made directly to county DSS office where the child resides (find your local office here). Intake staff will assist the person making the report and assess the information provided to determine if an investigation is necessary.
You may also call the Regional Child Care Licensing Office in your area if you believe a provider is not following laws and regulations, or if you believe someone is operating without a license or registration.
To report child abuse or neglect, the South Dakota Department of Social Services asks you to call 1-877-244-0864. Intake Specialists will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If reporting an emergency situation before 8 a.m., after 5 p.m., on the weekends, or during a holiday, please contact your local law enforcement.
The Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline (1-877-237-0004) accepts all reports of suspected child abuse and neglect for the state of Tennessee. The Hotline is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not have to know all the details of the abuse or neglect. The Hotline case managers use the information you provide to determine the severity of the situation and how best to intervene. To report (non-emergency situations) online, visit this page.
To report allegations of child abuse, neglect or exploitation, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services asks that you call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400, or make a report online via TXAbuseHotline.org (online reports may take up to 24 hours to process).
Texas law says anyone who thinks a child 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. Note that anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony under Texas law.
Utah law requires any person who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or dependency to immediately notify the nearest office of Child and Family Services, a peace officer, or a law enforcement agency. If you suspect child abuse or neglect has occurred in the state of Utah, call the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1-855-323-DCFS (1-855-323-3237).
To file a complaint about a licensed child care facility in Utah, please call 1-801-273-2895 or make a report online using this website.
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, the Vermont Department for Children and Families directs you to call call 1-800-649-5285 to report it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Virginia Department of Social Services operates a CPS Hotline 24/7 to support local departments of social services by receiving reports of child abuse and neglect and referring them to the appropriate local department of social services. The phone number is 1-800-552-7096. CPS Hotline staff is also trained to provide crisis counseling and intervention if needed, and can provide information and referral assistance to callers to locate prevention and/or treatment programs in their area.
Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Reports are received by Children’s Administration/Child Protective Services (CPS) located in each community office and assessed to determine whether the report meets the legal definition of abuse or neglect, and how dangerous the situation is. To make a report by phone 24 hours a day, call Washington’s toll-free, 24/7 hotline at 1-866-END-HARM (1-866-363-4276). Alternatively, use this page to contact your local children’s administration office.
The Washington DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) takes reports of child abuse and neglect 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-202-671-SAFE (1-202-671-7233).
The West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families directs those wishing to file a report of child abuse or neglect to the Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-352-6513. Phones are answered 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
To file a complaint or report regarding child abuse or neglect in Wisconsin, the Department of Children and Families asks that you contact CPS in the county or tribe where the child or child’s family lives. To find your local CPS office’s contact information, click here.
To lodge an official complaint regarding a licensed child care program in Wisconsin, contact the Bureau of Early Care Regulation’s Regional Licensing Office. Complaints may be reported over the telephone, via e-mail, or in writing to the regulatory agency that serves the center.
To report suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation, call the Wyoming Department of Family Services local field office (or the local law enforcement agency) in which the child lives, or where the alleged abuse has occurred. To find a list of field offices in Wyoming, click here.
The importance of making an official report.
It’s important to remember that you do not need to have proof of abuse or neglect in order to file a report; it is up to the investigators to determine whether your suspicions have merit. Do not let fear prevent you from filing a report; neither law enforcement nor the Child Protection Agencies are allowed to provide the names of anyone who reports possible abuse or neglect (when acting in good faith) in almost every case.
Professionals whose jobs involve the care of children, such as doctors, teachers and ministers, are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect (mandated reporters). Everyone else (e.g., parents, neighbors, relatives, etc.) are always encouraged to file a report if they even suspect that a child may have been abused, neglected, or otherwise harmed.