To Report Suspected or Known Child Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation
Immediately telephone the 24-hour DCF Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-792-5200 or local DCF office. You will find a directory of the DCF Area Offices at www.mass.gov/dcf. Area Offices are staffed between 9 AM and 5 PM on weekdays. The DCF Hotline is always available, even on weekends and holidays.
All Mandated Reporters are required by law to mail or fax a written report using the following form to the Department within 48 hours after making the oral report: Report of Child(ren) Alleged to be Suffering from Abuse or Neglect.
For more information, see: A Mandated Reporter's Guide to Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting.
Who are mandated reporters?
Mandated reporters are professionals working in roles that encounter children who are required by Massachusetts law to report any concerns of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation to DCF. Anyone can file a report, regardless of whether they are a mandated reporter. Examples of mandated reporters include:
When should I report?
Report whenever you suspect a child is experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation. You do not need to be certain or know all the facts about a situation to make a report.
What will I be asked when I call? (From DCF website)
The DCF screener will ask you to provide:
- Your name, relationship (if any) to the child(ren), address, and phone number
- Names, ages of the child(ren) about whom you have a concern and emergency contact information for them, language(s) spoken
- Names, addresses, contact information, ages, language(s) spoken of parents/guardians of the child(ren)
- Names and ages of other children in the family
- Details about your concern – “What are your worries?”
- The nature and extent of the suspected abuse or neglect, including any evidence or knowledge of prior injury, abuse, maltreatment, or neglect
- Circumstances under which you became aware of injuries, abuse, or neglect
- Dates and/or timeframes in which the maltreatment may have occurred
- Action(s) taken thus far to treat, shelter, or otherwise assist the child(ren)
- The identity of the person you believe may be responsible for the abuse / neglect (if known)
- Any other information you believe might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injury and/or person responsible, or for making safe contact with the family
- Any other information you believe would be helpful to ensuring the child’s safety and/or supporting the family to address the abuse and/or neglect concerns
What happens after I make a report?
DCF will screen the report to evaluate the child's safety, whether DCF involvement is warranted, and if the information meets criteria for suspected abuse or neglect. DCF works closely with the CAC and District Attorney's Office to provide a multidisciplinary response. Click here to learn who is on the multidisciplinary team.
Still have questions? Contact us.