Maintaining A Child’s Safety
Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a community responsibility. Most adults want to help children and their families, but are unsure how to get involved. Often, it can be as simple as helping out a neighbor who needs a break by watching his or her child for a few hours. At other times, you may have more serious worries or suspicions that a child may have already been harmed or neglected. Figuring out next steps can be a difficult and confusing process. What is most important is to not let discomfort and confusion interfere with helping children be safe, even if you must reach out to others for professional help.
What You Can Do If You Believe a Child is Being Abused or Neglected
An excellent way to help improve a situation for a child and create connections within your community is to become comfortable involving yourself in the lives of others. Whether it is helping to alleviate stressful situations you see in public places, such as helping a parent with a small child get through the checkout line at the grocery store, or offering to listen to an acquaintance who seems aggravated with his or her children, your support in even the smallest ways can make a huge difference in preventing possible harm to children.
Report your suspicions to your local child abuse or child protection hotline. Again, everyone has the right and responsibility to report any incidence of suspected child abuse or neglect at any time. You do not need to have “evidence” or actual knowledge of abuse when you make a report; all you need is reasonable cause, suspicion or belief based on your observations. Information to support your concern may include your firsthand observations or beliefs, your professional training or experience, or statements made to you by the child or parent. The more specific and concrete information you can provide, the better.
If you know of or suspect a child from being neglected or abused please call 911 to report the crime. You may also contact Tahoe SAFE Alliance and speak to an advocate about questions and concerns and get information about the reporting process. Call our 24-hour Community Helpline at 1-800-736-1060.
Local CPS agencies:
Placer County: 866-293-1940
Nevada County: 530-273-4291
Washoe County: 775-785-8600