Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Call (920) 236-4615

Why Report

Definitions

Making a Report

Mandated Reporters

Confidentiality

After the Report

Why Report

By contacting the Access Unit, your call:

  • Could save a child's life
  • Could prevent further abuse or neglect
  • May allow famlies to receive resources or services, which they may desperately need
  • Makes a valuable contribution to the protection of children and the prevention of abuse

Definitions

What Is Child Abuse?

Child Abuse is legally defined as:

  • A physical injury which is inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person.
  • Sexual Abuse, including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation
  • Willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment of a child
  • Cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or injury
  • Neglect, including both severe and general neglect

Indicators of Child Abuse

Below are some indicators of child abuse, which can help you recognize an existing or potential problem of abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may be defined as any act, which results in a non-accidental physical injury.

Indicators of physical abuse:

  • Bruises, burns, abrasions, lacerations, or swelling caused by other than accidental means
  • Belt buckle marks, handprints, bite marks, and pinches
  • Child states injury was caused by abuse
  • Injury unusual for a specific age group
  • A history of previous or recurrent injuries
  • Unexplained injuries; conflicting explanations or reasons for the injury
  • Child excessively passive, compliant or fearful
  • Caretaker attempts to hide injuries

Neglect

Neglect is the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a parent or caretaker under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child's health or welfare.

Indicators of neglect:

  • Child lacking adequate medical or dental care
  • Child is always sleepy or hungry
  • Child is always dirty or inadequately dressed for weather conditions
  • There is evidence of poor supervision
  • Conditions in the home are extremely or persistently unsafe or unsanitary

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is defined as acts of sexual assault on and/or the sexual exploitation of minors.

Indicators of sexual abuse:

  • Child reports sexual activities
  • Detailed and age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behavior (especially by younger children)
  • Child wears torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Child is victim of other forms of abuse

 Making a Report

To file a report call (920) 236-4615 or (920) 727-2881 (no long distance fees)

Your Involvement

Involvement doesn't mean physical intervention or snooping on your neighbor. It simply means not ignoring the obvious. Fear of involvement has resulted in family tragedies in which neighbors reported they knew what was going on, but declined to get involved. If a member of the community, who is not required by law to report, does not want to identify him/herself, the report may be made anonymously.

What to Expect

When making a call to report suspected child abuse or neglect you will speak to one of our phone intake workers. They will listen to your concerns and information. The phone intake worker will move through an established abuse/neglect report document that guides the discussion to also cover areas such as child and parenting functioning.  It is understood you may or may not have additional information regarding the family and you will be asked to provide only what you know.  You will not be required to do anything more following your call.

Mandated Reporters

Certain individuals whose employment brings them into contact with children are required by law to report any suspected abuse or neglect or threatened abuse or neglect to a child seen in the course of their professional duties. A person who is mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect will be informed by the county what action, if any, was taken to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the child who is the subject of the report. Persons required to report who intentionally fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect may be fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned up to 6 months or both.

Click here for a list of mandated reporters.

Confidentiality

Child abuse reports and information that is given to child protective service agencies are always confidential by law. Unless you are a mandated reporter, you can choose to make the report without giving your name.

After the Report

The Child Welfare (CW) Access Team is the entry point for many types of services provided by the Department, working with people from birth through age 17. The CW Access social worker's primary duties are to investigate child abuse/neglect allegations, which are usually brought to our attention via the reporting procedures mentioned above. Findings/determinations are made regarding these allegations resulting in the case being closed, referred to community resources for services, opened for services from our Department, or referred to court for court ordered intervention because of the seriousness of the situation. In some instances cases may be closed however; approximately two thirds of referrals are assigned to social workers for follow-up or investigation.