Child Abuse Prevention

Child Abuse & Neglect

The first step in helping to end child abuse and neglect in San Joaquin County is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not mean that child maltreatment is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination. Trust your gut instinct and call if you are concerned for the safety and well-being of a child.

How to Help

We all play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect. There are ways everyone can get involved in their community to help a child; even those individuals who aren’t raising a child or working with children every day. Get involved and make a difference wherever you are.

Remember that…
  • Suspicion of abuse is all that is necessary to report.
  • Reports are confidential.
  • Know where the child lives, or where they go to school.
  • You will be asked to describe your concerns about the child and it will be helpful if you can provide the child’s name, age, address, gender, school attended (if possible), and names of parents.

Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (209) 464-4524

Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don’t hesitate to call and get help.
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.

What is child abuse?

  • Physical abuse
    • Any non-accidental act that results in physical injury (bruises, bite marks, burns, abrasions, lacerations, fractures, internal injuries)
    • Can be discipline that went too far and left bruises or otherwise injured a child
    • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Neglect
    • When a child’s parent or caretaker does not provide for their basic needs. Examples of basic needs are housing, food, clothing, and access to medical care. However, homelessness and/or poverty alone are not reason for CPS involvement. 
  • Emotional Abuse
    • When a parent, caregiver, or adult acts in ways that damage a child’s sense of self worth. 
    • Belittling, screaming, threatening a child to the point that they withdraw, act out, have problems with basic functioning (eating, sleeping, concentrating at school, etc.)
    • Exposing a child to violence (verbal or physical) in the home that leads to problems with basic functioning
  • Sexual Abuse
    • When a child is pressured or is forced to do anything sexual exposing a child to other sexual activities. 
    •  An adult engaging in any sexual act with a minor
  • Failing to meet basic needs in terms of food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision
  • Failing to protect a child from someone abusing them in some way

How do I report child abuse and/or neglect?

  • If you believe that a child is being abused or neglected by their mother, father, caretaker or a member of their household call CPS at (209) 468-1333
  • If you believe that a child is being abused or neglected by someone other than their parent, caretaker or household member call law enforcement
  • You will be asked questions about why you suspect the abuse or neglect – answer them truthfully and if you don’t know say that
  • Unless you are a mandated reporter you do not have to provide your name. It is helpful to leave at least your first name and phone number in case clarification or additional information is needed
  • You will need to provide a name or address for the family, or the current location of the child you feel has been abused or neglected so that they can be located

What happens after a child abuse/neglect report?

  • Trained CPS social workers will assess the information and determine whether or not CPS will respond
  • If CPS does not respond in all likelihood the matter will be referred to a community agency to contact the family and offer them services
  • If CPS does respond the response will be
    • Within 24 hours if the child is thought to be in immediate danger
    • Within 10-days if there is not immediate danger to the child

Positive parenting tips

Click here for positive parenting tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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