The goal of the foster care system is to place children who are victims of abuse and neglect in safe and nurturing homes. Unfortunately, sometimes children continue to be subject to abuse with their new foster care. If you’re wondering how to report foster care abuse, there are systems to report and investigate the situation.
Call a Hotline
There is a specific hotline to call to report foster care abuse depending on what county you are in. You can also contact your local sheriff or police department to report child abuse or neglect.
If you witness foster children in immediate danger, call 911. Some believe that you must have evidence if you want to report foster care abuse. You can file a report with reasonable suspicion and good faith. It can be emotional—have your details together and ready before you call. Be sure to prepare:
- Your personal contact information,
- The present location of the child,
- Information about whom the child lives with,
- The child’s personal information,
- A description of the child,
- Any direct quotes from the child if they spoke to you, and
- A specific description of the abuse.
You should call as soon as possible after witnessing foster care neglect or abuse. Evidence of abuse injuries can heal, and it becomes much more difficult for Child Protective Services (CPS) to investigate as time passes after the abuse or neglect event.
If you call the hotline to report foster care abuse, CPS must conduct a risk assessment to decide if they need to intervene. However, they do not have to follow up with you. When you call the hotline, you do not have to provide personal information if you are not comfortable doing so. All reports are anonymous.
Under California Penal Code Section 11165.7, certain professions classify as mandatory reporters. They include:
- Teachers or instructional aids,
- Employees of a public school or daycare facility,
- Employees of a foster care agency,
- Social workers, and
- Certain emergency response workers.
You can still file a suspected child abuse report even if you are not a mandatory reporter.
How to File a Report
You can file a written report if you are wondering how to report foster care abuse. Obtain court form JV-210, Application to Commence Proceedings by Affidavit and Decision by a Social Worker, online or from your local superior court and fill it out. If you run out of space on your form, you may attach a blank page and label it page 2. Do not fill out an additional form. You do not need to include your name when filing a written report. You can fill the report out electronically online, but if you write it out by hand, print it legibly and use blue or black ink.
Fill out the form first, and then call your local county child abuse hotline with the form in front of you. When you speak to the case worker, record their name and the case number on your form. Your local county welfare agency must immediately investigate the situation once they receive the written report. You can follow up with them on the status using the case number. After you’ve completed your form and your call, file copies with three different agencies:
- Your local police or sheriff’s department,
- Your county welfare or probation department, and
- And your district attorney’s office.
Unlike with just making a hotline call, you will receive follow-up information about the county child welfare agency’s decision. Within three weeks, you will receive a completed form notifying you of its decision. If the agency decides not to investigate, or if you disagree with their analysis of the situation, you can appeal the decision with the juvenile court using court form JV-212. The court will follow up with you via letter or phone call, notifying you of its decision.
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Is your child in foster care and being abused or neglected? Do you consistently witness child abuse in your profession and don’t know what to do about it? Silva Injury Law can help you intercede for the child at risk in a timely matter and get results. Silva Injury Law believes its duty goes beyond large monetary settlements for its clients. We work to solve problems and be part of the solution. Call Silva Injury Law and find your solution today!
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