Reporting Child Abuse

Reporting suspected abuse is critical to protecting children and getting their families help. Although it may be difficult, frightening, or uncomfortable, making a report could save a child’s life.

A report should be made any time a “reasonable suspicion” of abuse exists.

Once there is a report, it is the role of child welfare and / or law enforcement professionals to assess the situation and determine a course of action to keep the child safe, create stability for the child and their family, and help ensure the child and family receive the resources or services they need.

To Make A Report

If you suspect that a child is being abused, contact your local child welfare agency. Make a confidential report anytime by calling the hotline at 415-558-2650[San Francisco]or 1-800-4-A-CHILD[National].

You can find the contact number for other local child welfare agencies here.

If there is an emergency or you believe a child or someone in his/her household is in imminent danger, call 911.

What you’ll be asked:

  • The child’s name and approximate age
  • The location of the child
  • The name of the suspected offender
  • The names of the parents or caretakers
  • The situation
  • Your name (although you may remain anonymous unless you are a “mandated reporter”)

What you should know:

  • Although you do not need proof of abuse, it is important to try to be as specific as possible.
  • If, after making a report, you suspect further instances of abuse, continue to report these concerns — this increases the likelihood that the child or another child in the household will get the help they need.
  • The primary goals of child welfare are safety, well-being, and permanence. Child welfare seeks to work with the community to create these for kids and their families.