Child abuse and neglect affect the lives of nearly 50,000 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 encourage you to become an advocate for children and work with us 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.

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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.

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WHAT TO REPORT:

  • Child's name and age.

  • Parent's name and address.

  • Physical Indicators observed.

  • Person suspected of abuse or neglect.

  • Address and /or school of child.

  • Any statements made by child.

  • Behavioral Indicators observed.

  • Relationship to child.


Report To Your local law enforcement or State Hotline for Texas 1-800-252-5400