What should you do when you suspect abuse or neglect?
CALL THE HOTLINE AT 1-800-392-3738, The Children’s Division staff this hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They will take information from you and respond to child abuse and neglect. If you live outside Missouri and want to report abuse or neglect of a Missouri child, call (573) 751-3448.
HAVE COMPLETE INFORMATION, Children’s Division needs specific information to be able to respond to a complaint of abuse or neglect.
Be sure you have:
- the name of the child
- the name of the parent(s)
- the name of the alleged abuser
- where the child can be located
You will also be asked:
- Is the child in a life-threatening situation now?
- How do you know about the abuse/neglect?
- Did you witness the abuse/neglect?
- Were there other witnesses and how can they be contacted?
Notice to Mandated Reporters, Effective August 28, 2004: If you are required to report child abuse or neglect because of your occupation, you may no longer make an anonymous call to the Hotline.
CONSIDER IDENTIFYING YOURSELF, If you are not required by occupation to report, you don't have to identify yourself when you make a hotline call, however being able to contact you later helps CD workers do a more thorough investigation. They may need to ask you for more information during the investigation process.
What if you're not sure it’s abuse or neglect?
- You can call the local Children’s Division office to discuss your concerns. They can advise you whether or not to call the hotline. They can also give you advice that might help you help the family in crisis.
- Err on the side of over-reporting. If you have the thought "Maybe I should call . . ." -- DO! Not all calls to the hotline are determined to be abuse/neglect. However, CD can often provide services and assistance that can help families prevent abuse.