One of the biggest misconceptions about child protective services agencies is that they do not adequately respond to reports of child abuse and neglect. Our justice system requires solid evidence that abuse is occurring before investigators can intervene to protect a child. Therefore it is imperative that any concerns about the welfare of a child be adequately and vigorously documented.
- Record your concerns immediately. Always include the date and time of the incident.
- Document facts, not opinions. If a child has a bruise, for example, write down the color, location and size of the bruise. It is unnecessary to include your opinion about how you think it may have occurred.
- Write down what the caregiver told you about the incident or injury. You'll also want to include what the child, sibling or other witness said about the incident.
- Collect the names and contact information of everyone involved in the incident. While it is not your job to investigate a report, you'll want to provide all of this information to the child services agency investigator or law enforcement officer to ensure that they can gather all of the necessary information and evidence.
- Sign, date and include the time of each entry.
- Report your concerns to the appropriate child protection agency in your state and make sure you write down the name of the person you spoke with along with any suggestions or advice they offered. Write down the date and time of your formal report.