Child Abuse Hotline
TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE CALL
The Child Abuse Hotline is available 24hrs a day, every day to receive reports and investigate suspected child abuse. Community members have an important role in protecting children from abuse and neglect. If you suspect that a child you know is being abused, neglected, or exploited you can make a referral by calling:
- Toll Free: 1-800-323-7711
- Local Calls: (530) 527-1911
- Fax: (530) 527-7640
Child Welfare Services’ (CWS) goal is to ensure the safety of children. CWS strives to keep children in their own home whenever it is safe. When it is determined that a child cannot remain safely at home CWS seeks to develop an alternate plan that meets the child’s needs in the least restrictive manner as quickly as possible.
When a referral is received, CWS staff obtains facts from the person making the referral to determine if the referral alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation and if an in-person response is indicated. CWS workers will utilize Structured Decision making (SDM) tools and the Differential Response model to aid in this determination and decide what kind of response would best serve the needs of the child and family.
Families who are facing the removal of their child from their home will be invited to participate in a Team Decisionmaking meeting to help determine if any measures can be taken to prevent removal and ensure the child’s safety at home. If the circumstances of a referral necessitate immediate removal of the child from the family home then the family will be invited to a different kind of Team Decisionmaking meeting to help determine if the child can safely return home or, if not, where will the child live while the parents address the concerns at hand.
CWS provides services to children and their families when children are victims of, or at risk of, abuse, neglect, exploitation, or parental absence. California law defines child abuse as any of the following:
- A child is physically injured by other than accidental means.
- A child is subjected to willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment.
- A child is abused or exploited sexually.
- A child is neglected by a parent or caretaker who fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision.
Request a Mandated Reporter Training
Mandated Reporter training is available in Tehama County through the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) or through Child Welfare Services. No matter which of these entities you choose to schedule with a CWS representative will be a part of the training and presentation.
Please contact either the CAPC (530) 528-7950 or CWS (530) 527-1911 to inquire about scheduling a Mandated Reporter training for your organization or group.
Information for Mandated Reporters
The most current Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, which is contained within the California Penal Code at sections 11164 - 11174.3, can be accessed via the California Law site.
Any citizen can make a report of suspected or known child abuse to a child protective services agency. However, Mandated Reporters are required by law to make a report.
A Mandated Reporter is someone who, in the scope of their employment, has a special relationship or contact with children or the home. A Mandated Reporter is legally required to report if they know or have “reasonable suspicion” of child abuse and neglect, encountered in the scope of their employment.
If child abuse is known or suspected the Mandated Reporter must call a “Child Protective Agency” as soon as possible to make a verbal report of “reasonable suspicion”. Subsequently, and within 36 hours of the verbal report, the Mandated Reporter must file a written report on the Department of Justice Suspected Child Abuse Report Form SS 8572. Mandated Reporters are required to give their name.
“Reasonable Suspicion” is defined by the CA Penal Code as occurring when "it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain such a suspicion, when based upon the facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his or her training and experience, to suspect child abuse." (California Penal Code 11166[a])
A Mandated Reporter who fails to make a report of known or suspected child abuse is guilty of a misdemeanor crime, which is punishable by up to six months in the county jail and/or up to $1000 in fines and may lose their license or credential. Mandated Reporters have immunity from civil and criminal liability (unless the report was made maliciously, while knowing it was false). Immunity, however, does not eliminate the possibility that actions may be taken against the Mandated Reporter. Therefore, the state will reimburse up to $50,000 in legal fees in case of a suit. Mandated Reporters cannot be prevented from reporting nor lose their job for making a report.
A Mandated Reporter's name is to be held confidential at all times and can only be shared:
- Between Child Protective Agencies
- With the Child Protective Agency's Council
- With the Child's Council
- With the District Attorney in cases of:
- Criminal Prosecution
- Parental Rights Termination
- With Licensing Agencies in Abuse Cases in Out-of-Home Care
- By Court Order
- If the Mandated Reporter Waives Confidentiality
- Never to Mandated Reporter's employer except by consent or Court Order
Who are Mandated Reporters in California?
- Child Care Custodians
- In Public and Private Schools
- Instructional Aides
- Teacher's Aides
- Teacher's Assistants
- Classified Employees
- School Bus Drivers
- Administrative Officers
- Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance
- Certificated Pupil Personnel Employees
- School District Police or Security
- Administrators, Presenters or Counselors of Child Abuse Prevention Programs
- Social Workers
- Law Enforcement
- Fire Fighters
- Probation Officers
- Parole Officers
- District Attorney investigators, inspectors and family support officers
- Public or Private Day Camp, Youth Center, Recreation Program or Organization Administrators
- Administrators and employees of child day care facilities
- Headstart Teachers
- Licensing Workers
- Public Assistance Workers
- Foster Parents
- Employees of Child Care Institutions:
- Group Homes
- Residential Care Facilities
- Health Practitioners
- Psychological Assistants
- Mental Health and Counseling Professionals
- Dental Hygienist
- Registered Dental Assistants
- Licensed Nurses
- Marriage, Family and Child Counselors, Interns and Trainees
- State and County Public Health Employees
- Clinical Social Workers
- EMT's and Paramedics
- Coroners and Medical Examiners
- Religious Practitioner
- Or similar functionary of a church, temple or recognized religious denomination or organization.
- Animal Control Officers
- Film and Photographic Print Processors Reporting and the Clergy and Other Special Circumstances
The Mandated Reporter Law exempts clergy members from reporting known or suspected child abuse when the knowledge is acquired during "penitential communication." "Penitential communication" means a communication, intended to be in confidence, including, but not limited to, a sacramental confession, made to a clergy member who, in the course of the discipline or practice of his or her church, denomination, or organization is authorized or accustomed to hear those communications, and under the discipline, tenet, customs, or practices of his or her church, denomination, or organization, has duty to keep those communications secret." In other words, clergy members have many roles in the administration of their parish, i.e., bible study leader, committee work, etc. During those times, clergy are not exempt from the reporting mandate.
- Employers are required to inform Mandated Reporters of their responsibilities.
- A child may be photographed or x-rayed without a parent’s consent.
- Physician- and therapist-patient privilege does not apply.
- A Mandated Reporter is not required by law to inform parents of report.