24-Hour Child Welfare Crisis Line 707-445-6180

Reporting Child Abuse

If there is imminent danger, call 911.
24-hour hotline: 707-445-6180.

Community members have an important role in protecting children from abuse and neglect. California law defines child abuse as any of the following:

  • Sexual Abuse—any sexual act against a minor by a parent, caretaker or member of the household or if the parent has failed to protect the child from sexual abuse
  • Physical Abuse—bodily injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means
  • Emotional Abuse—non-physical mistreatment that endangers a child's emotional health
  • General Neglect—failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred
  • Severe Neglect—refers to situations where the child's health and life is endangered, including severe malnutrition and failure to thrive
  • Exploitation—forcing or coercing a child into performing activities that are beyond the child's capabilities or which are illegal or degrading.

Child Protection Reporting Guide

What Is the Child Protection Reporting Guide (CPRG)?

  • This CPRG is intended to assist mandated reporters and any community members who are concerned about possible child abuse or neglect and who must decide whether to report their concerns to Child Welfare Services (CWS) or not. If you are mandated to report, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what circumstances should be reported. 
  • The CPRG is intended to:
    • Assist reporters as they gain familiarity with the reporting threshold.
    • Help ensure that children and families requiring a child protection report are promptly reported.
    • Provide the reporter a list of alternative local services that the child(ren) and their family may benefit from when a CWS report is not necessary. 
    • Provide information on mandated reporting laws and contact information for child protection agencies in Humboldt County.

How does the CPRG work?

  • The CPRG is a web-based tool that guides reporters through a series of short questions based on their concerns and produces a recommendation of whether it is necessary to make a report to CWS. 
  • If a report is recommended, contact information and instructions for making the report to CWS is provided.
  • If a report is not recommended, the user will be provided links to resource guides that include more than 500 listings of community resources. When concerns may not require a mandated report to CWS, community-based services may be able to provide critical support to the child or family.
  • The CPRG is based on statutory reporting requirements and reflects the consensus of multiple child protection agencies and community partners concerning situations that are best served through a formal child welfare response and those that do not meet the need for a report to CWS and where connections to alternative community services would be best.

Want to learn more about the CPRG? 

What are the criteria for reporting suspected child abuse/neglect?

  • The report pertains to a child under the age of 18 years.
  • The report alleges abuse, neglect or imminent risk of harm to the child.
  • The alleged perpetrator is:
    • A parent or caretaker
    • A relative or other person living in the home
    • An educator, volunteer or employee of a recreational/organizational setting who is responsible for the child; or any individual providing treatment, care or supervision for the child.

What information should be reported?

  • The nature of specific incident(s) you are reporting and:
    • Date(s) and descriptions(s) of the injuries or danger(s)
    • Identities of perpetrator(s) and their relationship(s) to the child
    • Witnesses to the incident(s) and how they may be reached
    • Details of any physical evidence available
    • The perpetrator's current access to the child
    • Present condition of the child (for example is the child in need of medical attention), the location of the child, and statements from the child(ren) when possible.

What happens when I report child abuse?

Child Welfare Services social work staff determines how to proceed by assessing the referral information and focusing on present and potential future risk to the child. An assessment tool assists the social worker to determine how to respond and what priority to assign that referral.

To schedule a Mandated Reporter Training, please call 707-388-6691.