Child abuse and neglect affect the lives of nearly 60,000 Texas children each year. Childhood should be a time of happiness and security. For too many children, it is a time of tragedy and suffering. Unfortunately, home is not always the safe place that it should be. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services encourages you to become an advocate for children and to work together to make our communities safe for all children.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect:
- DO listen to the child.
- DON'T try to investigate.
- DON'T confront the abuser.
- DO report reasonable suspicions by calling the Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or your Local Law Enforcement Agency.
It is not up to you to determine whether your suspicions are true or not. A trained investigator will evaluate the child's situation.
BY LAW: Texas Family Code, Chapter 34, 261.101.
WHO MUST REPORT: A person having cause to believe a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect must report IMMEDIATELY! A professional may not delegate or rely on another person to make the report. This includes: Teachers, Counselors, Clergy, Attorneys, Doctors, Individuals whose personal communications would otherwise be considered privileged.
LEGAL PROTECTION: The identity of an individual making a report under this chapter is confidential and may be disclosed only on the order of a court or to a law enforcement officer for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation of the report. You are immune from civil or criminal liability as long as the report is made in "good faith" (meaning that you took reasonable steps to learn the facts.) And "without malice" (meaning that you did not intend to injure or violate the rights of another person.)
FAILURE TO REPORT: Class B Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days. And / Or fine of up to $2,000.
WHAT TO REPORT:
- Child's name and age
- Parent's name and address
- Person suspected of abuse or neglect
- Physical indicators observed
- Behavioral indicators observed
- Any statements made by child
- Address and/or school of child
- Relationship to child
REPORT TO: Your local Law Enforcement and/or DFPS State Hotline for Texas 1-800-252-5400. Or, you can fill out an online report: Click Here
Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX) has served as the membership association for the state's 70 local children's advocacy centers (CACs), ensuring access to safety, justice, and healing for nearly one million Texas children impacted by abuse.