Who is responsible for reporting suspected child abuse in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, ANY person having reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused or neglected has a legal responsibility to report it to the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously. Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both.
How do I report child abuse in New Jersey?
Call New Jersey’s Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1-877-NJ ABUSE (652-2873).
(TTY/TDD use 1-800-835-5510)
They are available and will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a child is in immediate danger, you should call 911.
Do callers have immunity from civil or criminal liability?
Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Calls can be placed to the hotline anonymously.
What happens when I call the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline?
The hotline is answered by trained caseworkers who know how to respond to reports of child abuse/neglect. This caseworker may ask you about:
Who: The child and parent/caregiver’s name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person’s relationship to the child.
What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.
What happens after I make the call?
When a report indicates that a child may be at risk, the Division of Youth and Family Services will promptly investigate the allegations of child abuse and neglect within 24 hours of receipt of the report.
What if I tell Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey about my concerns?
While Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey values the health and safety of children — we, like all NJ citizens, are legally required to forward concerns about suspected abuse to the Division of Youth and Family Services. They are the only investigative and protective bodies of the State of NJ responsible for handling them.
We all care about children. We urge you to report any concern about the welfare of a child to DYFS, the legal authorities responsible for investigating suspected situations of abuse.
You should call 1-877-NJ-ABUSE and let them know the details of your concern. They will take the matter seriously and gather information that is in the best interest of the child.