Reporting Child Abuse
Georgia law requires anyone who works or volunteers at a child-serving agency to report suspected child abuse or neglect within 24 hours. Frequently hospitals, schools and other facilities have an internal child abuse report protocol. You should be aware of this protocol and follow it.
For instance, there may be designated reporter like the child care center director who is charged with making reports to DFCS. Each organization will handle this in their own way to assure that accurate reports are made in a timely fashion. If a mandated reporter informs the agency's designated reporter of suspected abuse, the mandated reporter has fulfilled their obligation under the law.
Any person or official required by Georgia law to report suspected cases of child abuse who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a crime that is less serious than a felony but can still be punishable by fine or incarceration in a county jail.
Mandated reporters who report in good faith are protected by the law, even if the report is substantiated. All reports are confidential and the reporter may remain anonymous, if they choose to do so. However, in some instances, he mandated reporter does not wish to remain anonymous and would like to be interviewed and/or serve as a resource for the child/family. DFCS is required to keep the reporter's name confidential.
To make a report, call the Georgia Child Protective Services Information Center: 1-855-GA-CHILD (1-855-422-4453). If you feel the child is in immediate danger, call 911.
You can also make a report of suspected abuse online. More information about submitting an online report can be found here: https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and-Instruction/Documents/MANDATED%20REPORTER%20INTAKE%20FORM%207%2010%2014.pdf
Being able to provide the following information will help save time when you call. However, you should still make the report even if you do not have all the information. Remember: you are not an investigator.
- Name, age, home address and current location of the child.
- Name and address of the child's parents/caregivers, if known
- Name and address of suspected maltreater
- Locations where abuse took place, if known
- The nature and extent of injuries
- Any other information the reporter believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries and the identity of the perpetrator
- Photographs of the child's injuries to be used as documentation in support of allegations by hospital employees or volunteers, physicians, law enforcement personnel, school officials or employees, or volunteers of legally mandated public or private child protection agencies may be taken without permission of the child's parents.
- Any information about other household members