Child Abuse

Awareness & Prevention

Recognize Signs and Symptoms of Abuse or Neglect:

  • Unexplained or poor explanation of bruises, welts, or cuts

  • Fearful or excessively shy behavior by the child

  • Harsh, belittling, or manipulative caregiver behavior

  • Persistent anti-social behavior (e.g. aggressive)

  • Stained, bloody, or town underclothes

  • Self-destructive behavior such as substance abuse, self-harm, or suicide threats

  • Caregivers who limit the child's contact with others

  • Chronically bad hygiene, such as very dirty or matted hair, persistent body odor, etc.

  • Poorly fitting clothes that are dirty and disheveled

  • Children who appear to be unsupervised

How to Report Abuse or Neglect:

STEP #1: Take action if you witness or suspect that a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited.

  • DO: Call the Child Abuse Reporting Number for your California county, or contact your local Police or Sheriff's Department and report your concern. You can call anonymously, unless you are an official mandated reporter.

  • EXPECT: The County Child Welfare Agency must conduct a risk assessment to decide whether the child needs protection

  • FOLLOW UP: The County Child Welfare Agency will not share information about their investigation with you.

STEP #2: If after reporting you continue to suspect child abuse, neglect, or exploitation:

  • DO: Ask the County Child Welfare Agency to immediately commence court proceedings to bring the child under the protection of the juvenile court by filling the Juvenile Court Form JV-210.

  • EXPECT: The County Child Welfare Agency must immediately investigate the child's situation after receiving the JV-210.

  • FOLLOW UP: Within three weeks, the County Child Welfare Agency must send you the JV-210 form to notify you of their decision. If they decide not to bring the child under the protection of the court they must state their reasons on the form. 

STEP #3: If the county child welfare agency does not seek court protection of the child:

  • DO: If the County Child Welfare Agency decides not to seek protection, you may go directly to the juvenile court and ask for review of the agency's decision, using Juvenile Court Form JV-210.

  • EXPECT: You will receive a call or letter from the juvenile court clerk telling you whether the court decided to bring the child under its protection.

  • FOLLOW UP: There is no timeframe within which the court must make a decision, but you can expect a prompt response. These requests are rare and will be treated with great urgency. 

Let's work together to keep children safe.