Call the child abuse and child neglect hotline at any time you suspect that someone who is caring for a child, who resides with a child, or who works with a child has (or may have) caused injury or harm to that child, or has put that child at risk for injury.
There are many examples of abuse including: witnessing a person hit a child with or without an object, witnessing physical marks on the child's body that appear intentional, whenever a child reports to you that he or she has been injured or harmed by another person, when a child appears to you to be underfed, has been dressed inappropriately for the prevailing weather, or is young and has been left by himself or herself. These are just a few of the many situations in which you should contact the child abuse and child neglect hotline. You must use your own judgment when calling the hotline in any instance that you believe a child has been victimized.
When Should I NOT Call The Child Abuse and Child Neglect Hotline?
There are some situations in which you should not contact the child abuse and child neglect hotline. Again, you must exercise your own good judgment and call the child abuse and child neglect hotline only when you suspect that child abuse or child neglect has occurred (or is currently occurring), or when you believe that a child has been injured or will be injured.
Some examples which do not call for contacting the child abuse and child neglect hotline include: When a child is causing a situation that is of concern to you, but the problem is not the result or in any way related to child abuse or child neglect—in such situations, it may be appropriate to contact law enforcement or perhaps speak to the child's parents or maybe the child's relatives. Family circumstances in which there may be domestic stress but there is no indication that the child has been a victim of child abuse or child neglect or is at risk for child abuse or child neglect. In those situations, there are often community service agencies that are more appropriate to provide assistance. For information about child service programs in Missouri (DFS) or Kansas (SRS), call your local DFS or SRS child service office.