What must I do?

Any person who reasonably believes that a minor is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse, child abuse, a reportable offense or neglect that appears to have been inflicted on the minor by other than accidental means or that is not explained by the available medical history as being accidental in nature, or who reasonably believes that there has been a denial or deprivation of necessary medical treatment or surgical care or nourishment with the intent to cause or allow the death of an infant who is protected under A.R.S. § 36-2281, shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of this information to a peace office or to Child Protective Services (CPS). You may be a child’s only advocate at the time you report the possibility of abuse or neglect. Children often tell a person with whom they feel safe about abuse or neglect. If a child tells you of abuse or neglect, act to protect that child by calling the toll free Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445).

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect in Arizona

Every state has laws identifying mandatory reporters of child maltreatment and the circumstances under which they are required to report. This designation creates a legal responsibility to report, which can result in criminal and civil liability for failure to report as required. Arizona law requires certain persons who suspect that a child has received non-accidental injury or has been neglected to report their concerns to CPS or local law enforcement (ARS §13-3620.A). Mandatory reporters include:

  • Physicians, nurses, hospital personnel, and dentists
  • Medical examiners
  • Coroners
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social workers
  • School personnel
  • Child care providers
  • Law enforcement officers

In addition, any person in any state may report incidents of suspected abuse or neglect.

A report of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment is only a request for an investigation. The person making the report does not need to prove the abuse. Investigation and validation of child abuse reports are the responsibilities of child protective service workers.  If additional incidents of abuse occur after the initial report has been made, another report is required.

What Information is Needed to Make a Report?

When making a report, be prepared with the name of the child(ren), age, and gender, name of other people in the home; address, phone numbers or directions to child’s home, description of suspected abuse or neglect (including exact quotes of what the child said), and current condition of the child. Please, do not delay in contacting the Child Abuse Hotline even if you do not have all of the necessary information. A Hotline Specialist will make an assessment based on the available information and will decide if the information is sufficient to accept a report.

How do I make a report?

If the situation is an emergency, contact 9-1-1; however, for non-emergency situations immediately report to a peace officer or to child protective services. If the report concerns a person who does not have care custody or control of the minor, the report shall be made to a peace officer only.

  • Dial the toll free number 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445)
  • Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
  • Language interpretation is available for over 100 dialects
  • The Hotline Specialist will ask  a series of questions and  determine if the information meets the  criteria of a report
  •  The Hotline Specialist determines risk level and response time
  • Mandated reporting sources must follow-up all telephone reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) with a written statement within seventy-two (72) hours, A.R.S. 13-3620.

Mail to:  Child Abuse Hotline
P.O. Box 44240
Phoenix, Arizona  85064-4240

Should I Contact Anyone Other Than the Child Abuse Hotline?

The perpetrator or parent(s) should never be advised by the reporting source that CPS has been called.  Doing so may cause several different reactions including coaching the child about what to say when interviewed; threatening the child to not tell of abuse; and hiding the child from authorities so his or her safety cannot be assessed. It is the policy of the Department of Economic Security to make efforts to protect the identity of a reporting source.

What Happens After a Report?

Few of the children who are reported to CPS are removed from their homes. In most situations where verified family problems exist, the families and CPS work together cooperatively to resolve them. However, under certain circumstances, the law does allow a police officer or a CPS representative to remove a child for up to 72 hours (not counting weekends and holidays) for protection while the investigation takes place. Within 72 hours, the child must be returned home or a dependency petition filed in the juvenile court.

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