Office of Children and Family Services

Prevent and Report Child Abuse

Prevent and Report Child Abuse


If you believe a child is in immediate danger of being harmed, call the police at 911 or your local police department.

Child Abuse Hotline

Reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment should be made immediately to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, commonly known as the Child Abuse Hotline, at 1-800-342-3720.

This hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.


Calls to the hotline are anonymous; callers' identities are protected from disclosure.

The Interview

The person who answers your telephone call to the hotline is a child protective specialist. It is his or her responsibility to interview to get as much information as possible during your telephone call to determine if a report should be registered. Among the questions they may ask you are:

  • What is the nature and extent of the child’s injuries or the risk of harm to the child?
  • Have there been any prior suspicious injuries to this child or his or her siblings?
  • What is the child’s name, home address, and age?
  • What is the name and address of the child’s parent or other person legally responsible who caused the injury or created the risk of harm to the child?
  • What are the names and address of the child’s siblings and parents if different from the information provided above?
  • Do you have any information regarding treatment of the child or the child’s current whereabouts?

What Happens After I Make a Call?

If the child protective specialist determines you have provided enough information to register a report of child abuse or maltreatment, it will be forwarded to the Child Protective Services (CPS) unit of the local county department of social services where the child is located. Within 24 hours of receipt of this report, CPS must initiate an investigation into the charges of abuse or maltreatment.

The Investigation

The CPS investigation will include an evaluation of the safety of the child named in the report and any other children in the home. It also will include a determination of risk if they continue to remain in the home.

Protetive Custody

If the investigation finds the child has been the subject of abuse or maltreatment, CPS may take a child into custody it if is necessary to protect him or her from further abuse or maltreatment.


Based on the investigation, CPS also may offer the family appropriate services. Additionally, the CPS caseworker has an obligation and the authority to petition the Family Court to mandate services when they are necessary for the care and protection of a child.

Final Determination

CPS has 60 days after receiving the report of child abuse or maltreatment to determine whether the report is “indicated” or “unfounded.” The law requires CPS to provide written notice to the parents or other subjects of the report concerning their rights under the New York State Social Services Law. CPS also will report back to the Statewide Central Register the final determination of their investigation.