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Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect: Signs and Symptoms
The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination you should take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse.
If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family. Contact your local child protective services agency or police department. For more information about where and how to file a report, call the Childhelp USA® National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD®).
State Child Welfare Agency Websites
Includes links to State child welfare agency websites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Links to Spanish translations of websites are provided when available.
These results are current as of Saturday, March 26, 2016 unless otherwise noted.Alabama
District of Columbia
U.S. Virgin Islands
http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/protective-services/index.htmlRecognizing Child Abuse
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.
The Parent and Child:
The following are some signs often associated with particular types of child abuse and neglect: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is important to note, however, these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child, for example, is often emotionally abused as well, and a sexually abused child also may be neglected.
Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the child:
Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Consider the possibility of neglect when the child:
Consider the possibility of neglect when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the child:
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Child Welfare Information Gateway
CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCEInsureKids Now!
The Children’s Bureau (CB) is within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, of the Department of Health and Human Services. CB seeks to provide for the safety, permanency and well being of children through leadership, support for necessary services, and productive partnerships with States, Tribes, and communities.
Federal Interagency Workgroup on Child Abuse and Neglect (FEDIAWG)
Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
FEDIAWG consists of more than 40 Federal agencies whose missions are directly involved in addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect. The workgroup meets on a regular basis to exchange ideas and develop plans concerning child maltreatment programs and activities. The FEDIAWG website describes the goals of the workgroup, offers workgroup resources, and lists Federal member agencies.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the United States, its territories, and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who, through interpreters, can provide assistance in over 200 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.
The hotline has received more than 2 million calls since it began in 1982. These calls come from children at risk for abuse, distressed parents seeking crisis intervention and concerned individuals who suspect that child abuse may be occurring. The hotline is also a valuable resource for those who are mandated by law to report suspected abuse, such as school personnel, medical and mental health professionals and police and fire investigators.
What to expect when calling the hotline:
When calling 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), a qualified crisis counselor will answer and assist you, if you:
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