How to Report Daycare Abuse in the United States: A Complete 50 State Guide

Discovering signs of daycare abuse can be deeply distressing. If you suspect a child is being harmed or neglected in a daycare facility, it is important to respond promptly to protect the child and ensure it is investigated. This guide will provide you with the necessary information to report daycare abuse to the proper authorities, so your concerns are taken seriously and the appropriate actions are taken.
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How to Report Daycare Abuse in All 50 States

Each state in the United States has unique guidelines and protocols for reporting daycare abuse. These procedures are designed to ensure every allegation is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

Below you’ll find comprehensive day care abuse reporting information specific to your state. Guidance will be provided on who to contact, details you’ll need to include in your report, and what to expect throughout the process. Understanding the process in your state will allow you to act quickly, and ensure the relevant authorities address your concerns.

State Agency to Report Abuse Phone Number / Fax Number Email Address / Online Abuse Reporting Portal
Alabama Department of Human Resources (Child Care Services Division) Phone: 1-866-528-1694
Alaska Office of Children’s Services Phone: 1-800-478-4444 (Child Abuse Hotline)
Fax: 1-907-269-3939
Arizona Arizona Department of Child Safety Phone: 1-888-767-8445 (Arizona Child Abuse Hotline)
Arkansas Arkansas Department of Human Services Phone: 1-800-482-5964 (Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline)
California Community Care Licensing Division Phone: 1-844-538-8766 (Complaint Hotline)
Colorado Colorado Department of Human Services Phone: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437) (Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline) N/A
Connecticut Department of Children and Families Phone: 1-800-842-2288 (Children and Families HOTLINE) N/A
Delaware Delaware Department of Education Phone: 1-800-292-9582 (Confidential Complaint Hotline)
Online Complaint Form
District of Columbia Child and Family Services  Phone: 1-202-671-SAFE (1-202-671-7233)
Fax: 1-202-727-6505
Florida Florida Department of Children and Families Phone: 1-800-962-2873 (Florida Abuse Hotline) Reporter Portal
Georgia Georgia Dept of Early Care and Learning Phone: 1-888-442-7735 N/A
Hawaii Department of Human Services Phone: 1-808-832-5300 (Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline) N/A
Idaho Idaho Department of Health & Welfare Phone: 2-1-1-Idaho (1-800-926-2588) (CareLine)
Fax: 1-208-334-5531
Online Complaint Form
Illinois Illinois Department of Human Services Phone: 1-800-252-2873 (Children and Family Services) N/A
Indiana Indiana Department of Child Services Phone: 1-800-800-5556 (Indiana Child Abuse Hotline) N/A
Iowa Iowa Health & Human Services Phone: 1-800-363-2178 (24 Hour a Day Hotline) N/A
Kansas Kansas Department of Health-Division of Public Health Phone: 1-800-922-5330 (Kansas Report Center) Online Complaint Form
Kentucky Team Kentucky-Heath and Family Services Phone: 1-502-564-7962 (Division of Regulated Child Care) Online Complaint Form (Non-emergency)
Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services Phone: 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) (Child Protection Hotline)
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Phone: 1-800-452-1999 N/A
Maryland Department of Health & Human Services Phone: 1-240-777-4417 (24 Hour Child Welfare)
Massachusetts Child Abuse Phone: 1-800-792-5200 (Child-at-Risk Hotline) Register complaint
Michigan Health & Human Services Phone: 1-855-444-3911
Fax: 1-517-373-8570
Minnesota Department of Human Services Phone: 1-651-431-6600 (Maltreatment Intake)
Mississippi Mississippi Department of Health Phone: 1-866-489-8734
Online Complaint Form
Missouri Missouri Department of Social Services Phone: 1-800-392-3738 Online Report
Montana Montana Policy Manual Phone: 1-866-820-5437 (Intake Unit) N/A
Nebraska Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Phone: 1-800-652-1999
Nevada The Nevada Registry Phone: 1-800-992-5757 (Child Protective Services)  (Washoe County only)
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Phone: 1-800-894-5533 (Central Intake Unit; in-state) or 603-271-6562 (out-of-state)
New Jersey Department of Children and Families Phone: 1-877 NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873) (Child Abuse Hotline) Online Complaint Form
New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department Phone: 1-855-333-SAFE (1-855-333-7233) or from a mobile phone dial #SAFE)
New York Advancing our Community Phone: 1-800-342-3720
North Carolina NC Department of Health and Human Services Phone: 1-800-859-0829 (Div. of Child Development)
Fax: 1-919-715-1013
North Dakota Health and Human Services Phone: 1-833-958-3500 (Child Abuse Reporting Line) N/A
Ohio Department of Job & Family Services Phone: 1-855-642-4453
Oklahoma Mandatory Reporting: Children Ok Phone: 1-800-522-3511 N/A
Oregon Department of Learning and Care Phone: 1-800-556-6616 (Child Care Division) Online Complaint Form
Pennsylvania City of Philadelphia Phone: 1-800-932-0313 (Childline) N/A
Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families Phone: 1-800-RI-CHILD (1-800-742-4453) N/A
South Carolina Department of Social Services Phone: 1-888-CARE4US (1-888-227-3487) Online Complaint Form
South Dakota Department of Social Services Phone: 1-877-244-0864 Online Complaint Form
Tennessee Kid Central TN Phone: 1-877-237-0004 Online Complaint Form
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Phone: 1-800-252-5400 Online Complaint Form
Utah Utah Child Protective Services Phone: 1-855-323-3237
Online Complaint Form
Vermont Department of Children and Families Phone: 1-800-649-5285 N/A
Virginia Child Care Virginia Phone: 1-800-522-7096; for Richmond-area call 1-804-786-8536 Online Complaint Form
Washington Department of Children, Youth & Families Phone: 1-866-END-HARM (1-866-482-4325) N/A
West Virginia Bureau for Social Services Phone: 1-800-352-6513 N/A
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families No statewide number available. Click here for Child Protective services contact info by county. N/A
Wyoming Department of Family Services No statewide number available. Click here for Department of Family Services contact information by county. N/A

Additionally, the Children’s Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a toll-free hotline for reporting daycare abuse, child abuse, and neglect. In addition to the above resources, you can report child daycare abuse and neglect to Child Help USA at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).

Mandated Reporters for Daycare Abuse

Reporting daycare abuse is not just a moral duty, for many individuals it is also a legal requirement to report daycare abuse. In every state across the United States, certain professionals are designated as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect.

The professions classified as mandated reporters can differ slightly from one state to another. However, mandated reporters often include educators, healthcare professionals, social workers, and law enforcement officers. These individuals are legally required to report any suspicions of child mistreatment to the proper authorities.

Although the laws can vary from state to state, the overarching principle is the same:  failure to report suspected child abuse by a mandated reporter can result in legal consequences. However, for individuals not specified as mandated reporters, the legal requirement to report daycare abuse may not be as clear-cut.

Child kneeling with his head between his knees and holding a teddy bear - Report daycare abuse

Can I Press Charges or File a Lawsuit After I Report Daycare Abuse?

If you are considering legal action after reporting daycare abuse, there is a difference between pressing criminal charges and filing a civil lawsuit. The state’s attorney pursues criminal charges to address violations of criminal law, such as abuse or neglect. As a private citizen, you can report daycare abuse to local law enforcement who then decide whether to investigate and press charges based on the evidence.

Conversely, a civil lawsuit is a separate process where you can seek monetary compensation for any harm caused by the abuse. To file a lawsuit, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in daycare abuse. They can guide you through the legal process and help determine the viability of your case based on the specifics of the incident, including the severity of the abuse and evidence available.

What to Do When You Notice Daycare Abuse

When you notice signs of daycare abuse, it’s critical to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Document Everything: Write down everything you’ve observed, including dates, times, and descriptions of incidents and conversations. You should also take pictures of any signs of physical abuse.
  2. Speak Up: Talk to the daycare staff or management about your concerns if you feel it’s safe to do so, as they may be unaware of the issue.
  3. Report Your Suspicions: Use the contact information provided for your state to report daycare abuse suspicions to the appropriate authorities.
  4. Follow Up: Keep in touch with the authorities to stay updated after you report daycare abuse. Persistence can ensure the case receives the attention it deserves.
  5. Support the Child: If possible, offer support to the child and their family, helping them navigate through this challenging time.
  6. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a lawyer experienced in child welfare for guidance on any further actions you can take to protect the child’s rights and well-being. If your child suffered daycare abuse in Texas, Thompson Law may be able to help.

Remember, it’s always better to report and be wrong than to stay silent on potential abuse. Your vigilance can safeguard children from further harm and initiate the healing process for victims and their families.

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