What should I do if I think a child is being abused or neglected?
Question & AnswerWhat should I do if I think a child is being abused or neglected?
2. Report harm to CAS
If you have “reasonable grounds to suspect” that a child has been or is in danger of being harmed, you must report this to the (CAS) right away.
“Reasonable grounds to suspect” means there is enough information for an average person to decide they have to let CAS know. There is no need to find out whether the harm actually happened.
To make a report, call your local CAS. You must call yourself. You can’t tell someone else and then rely on them to call CAS.
CAS takes calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The intake worker will ask you questions like:
- Who are you and what is your relationship to the child?
- What is the incident or condition that concerns you?
- What do you know about the family?
- Are you aware of any domestic violence in the family?
The worker will try to find out as much information as possible about the possible harm to the child.
You might not be able to answer all of their questions. You can always tell the worker that you don’t know or don’t want to answer. For example, you might not know the full names of everyone living in the home.
CAS will look carefully into all reports of harm to a child. CAS is not allowed to ignore any concerns that they are told about.
Giving your name
You may be asked to give your name and other information. You don’t have to give your name or other information if you don’t want to.
A parent can ask about who reported their child to CAS. CAS will usually tell them this information if they know the name of the person who contacted them.
If you report to CAS, you can’t be sued unless you acted “maliciously” or did not have reasonable grounds for your suspicion of harm. An example of acting maliciously is if you know that a co-worker’s child is safe, but you make a false report that they’re being sexually abused because you’re angry at your co-worker.