IF YOU SUSPECT IT, REPORT IT
Who Must Report
- Texas law requires anyone who has cause to believe a child has been abused or neglected to report it to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or Law Enforcement. Mandatory reporting applies to all individuals and is not limited to teachers or health care professionals.
- The mandatory reporting law even extends to individuals whose personal communications may be otherwise privileged (i.e. attorneys, clergy members, and health care professionals).
- Individuals who work for an agency or facility or are themselves licensed or certified by the state and have contact with children per their job requirements (i.e. teachers, nurses, doctors, and childcare employees) must report abuse or neglect within 48 hours.
- A person acting in good faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect is exempt from civil or criminal liability.
- A professional may not delegate to, or rely on anyone else to report.
Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine.
Be Prepared to Answer
- Who was involved? You will be asked to provide information about everyone involved in the incident including the person you suspect is being abused, the person you suspect is responsible for the abuse, and anyone who could provide information about the incident(s).
- What happened? You will be asked to provide your specific concerns and your reason for making the report. This will include anything you heard, observed, or anything the child told you.
- Other safety concerns? You will be asked to provide information regarding domestic violence, drug and/or alcohol abuse, living conditions or other safety concerns. You can share any concerns you have about weapons, gang involvement, or if there are people, pets, or conditions that could be dangerous.
- Locating information such as: home address, the best place to locate the child (daycare, school, babysitter, etc.), and/or phone number.
- Identifying information including: child’s age and/or birth date, child’s current condition, injuries or any emotional or behavioral problems, and similar information about any siblings.
- Provide as many details as possible. We encourage you to report the incident regardless of the amount of information you may have.
For more frequently asked questions about reporting, visit the DFPS website.