Arizona Child Abuse Hotline
A report of suspected child abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment is a responsible attempt to protect a child. Arizona law requires certain persons who suspect that a child has received non-accidental injury or has been neglected to report their concerns to DCS or local law enforcement (ARS §13-3620.A). 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 such experiences, act to protect that child by calling the toll free Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445). To learn more about Mandated Reporting, select "Who must report?" from the following list.
When a parent, guardian or custodian inflicts or allows the infliction of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment.
- Physical abuse includes non-accidental physical injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns, cuts or other injuries.
- Sexual abuse occurs when sex acts are performed with children. Using children in pornography, prostitution or other types of sexual activity is also sexual abuse.
- Neglect occurs when children are not given necessary care for illness or injury. Neglect also includes leaving young children unsupervised or alone, locked in or out of the house, or without adequate clothing, food, or shelter. Allowing children to live in a very dirty house which could be a health hazard may also be considered neglect.
- Emotional abuse of a child is evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or improper aggressive behavior as diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist, and caused by the acts or omissions of the parent or caretaker.
- Exploitation means use of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian for material gain.
- Abandonment means the failure of the parent to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the child, including providing normal supervision, when such failure is intentional and continues for an indefinite period.
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 Department of Child Safety in the Department of Economic Security, except 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 office only.
The following persons are required by law to report:
- Any physician, physician's assistant, optometrist, dentist, osteopath, chiropractor, podiatrist, behavioral health professional, nurse, psychologist, counselor or social worker who develops the reasonable belief in the course of treating a patient.
- Any peace officer, member of the clergy, priest or Christian Science practitioner.
- The parent, stepparent or guardian of the minor.
- School personnel or domestic violence victim advocates who develop the reasonable belief in the course of their employment.
- Any other person who has responsibility for the care or treatment of the minor.
A person making a report or providing information about a child is immune from civil or criminal liability unless such person has been charged with, or is suspected of, the abuse or neglect in question.
A person acting with malice who either knowingly and or intentionally makes a false report of child abuse and neglect or who coerces another person to make a false report is guilty of a crime. A person who knowingly and intentionally falsely accuses another of maliciously making a false report of child abuse and neglect is also guilty of a crime.
While you are reporting abuse or neglect, you will be speaking directly with a skilled social work professional. You will be asked for information about the child, the nature of your concerns, the present location of the child, and about the family with whom the child lives. When Department of Child Safety (DCS) receives an abuse or neglect report that meets the criteria for response, a local DCS specialist is assigned to interview the child's siblings, other children in the home and others who may have information about the child’s safety including family, parents, neighbors, teachers, doctors and friends. After all information is gathered, the DCS specialist and a supervisor review the available facts and the next steps to take. A determination of services will be made to reduce the present risk to the child. If a report is warranted it is then assigned to a DCS Field Specialist who then will investigate the report through interviews with all children in the home, parents, friends, relatives, and any other person who may have information about the child and family. After investigation, if DCS has reason to believe that a parent guardian or custodian abused or neglected a child and intends to confirm this, a letter will be sent to the person accused explaining how an appeal of this decision may be requested and how to get a copy of the DCS report.
Online Reporting Service for Mandated Reporters
Mandated reporters are required by law, as defined by ARS 13-3620, to report all concerns of child abuse or neglect. Department of Child Safety (DCS) provides this secure website for mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect to report non-emergency concerns, as authorized by ARS 13-3620. Non-emergency concerns are those in which a child is not at immediate risk of abuse or neglect that could result in serious harm. This website is only for mandated reporters to report situations that do not require an emergency response. An emergency is a situation where a child faces an immediate risk of abuse or neglect that could result in death or serious harm.
Why use Arizona's Online Reporting Service for Mandated Reporters?
- Provides an additional means to ensure the safety and well-being of Arizona's children.
- Provides a convenient, secure alternative to reporting via telephone and there are never any hold times.
- Allows you to print a copy of the concern you have submitted for your confidential record.
- Automatic email receipt informing you that your concern has been received.
What information should I expect to provide during the online reporting process?
- The online reporting service is separated into five sections:
- Section I: We ask you to identify yourself and tell us what type of reporting source you are (i.e. – school, law enforcement, etc.). You can use the online reporting service as a one-time user, or you can become a registered user with a secure user name and password.
- Section II: We gather information regarding the child(ren) such as their age, school/daycare or where the child(ren) can be located.
- Section III: We inquire about the adult profile so that we can understand who was involved in the alleged abuse and/or neglect.
- Section IV: We ask you about what happened. This is your opportunity to tell us what your concerns are.
- Section V: We ask you to tell us about the child and adult functioning as well as any other details you think will help ensure the safety of the child(ren) you are concerned about.
- After submitting your concern, you will be able to print a copy of the document to keep for your confidential records.
- You will receive a unique form number that will be associated with the concern you submitted.
- If you do not receive a form number your concern was not submitted.
- Some of the questions we ask you will require a response before you are able to continue and/or submit your concern.
- Please Note: The system will time out after being idle for 20 minutes, and any information you have entered will be lost.
What should I expect after I have submitted a non-emergency child abuse or neglect concern?
- The Arizona Child Abuse Hotline will review your concern within 72 hours of submission.
- If the information you provided meets DCS report criteria based on ARS 8-802, a DCS report will be generated for assignment.
- If the Child Abuse Hotline needs additional information to make a report decision, a Hotline Specialist will contact you to ask for more details about your concern.
- If you have included your email address as part of your registration process, you will receive an email after your concern has been reviewed. You will be advised of the outcome of the concern you submitted. If a DCS report was generated, you will be provided with the contact information for the assigned DCS Unit responsible for responding to your concern.
Can I report a concern anonymously?
- Currently the Online Reporting Service is for Mandated Reporters and is reserved for individuals who are willing to identify themselves as the reporting source. Please be aware that the identity of reporting sources is strictly confidential, per ARS 8-807.
- Department of Child Safety is committed to assessing all concerns of child abuse and neglect to determine if a concern meets the statutory criteria for a DCS report.
- The Online Reporting Service best serves Arizona's children when the reporting source can be contacted for additional information and clarification, if needed.
- The Arizona Child Abuse Hotline will assess concern received from anonymous parties and can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-SOS-CHILD / 1-888-767-2445.
Confidentiality and website security
- All communications are secure and encrypted, using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.
- To ensure the information you provide regarding child abuse and neglect remains confidential, this website has been designed to allow the mandated reporter to print the submitted concern. The final concern cannot be saved on the mandated reporter's computer.
- Reporting sources cannot access their documentation after it has been submitted.
- This website's security has been determined to meet HIPAA-covered entities' requirements to submit concerns of child abuse or neglect, as mandated by state law.