Reporting Child Abuse Is Everyone's Responsibility
Any person may report suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Anonymous reports are accepted from individuals who are not mandated by occupation to report, but please consider identifying yourself. Being able to contact you later helps the Children's Division staff complete a more thorough investigation. They may also need to ask you for more information during the investigation process.
Hotline Number: 1-800-392-3738
The Children’s Division Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (CA/NHU) is a toll-free telephone line which is answered seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
For hearing and speech impaired, please contact Relay Missouri 1-800-735-2466/voice or 1-800-735-2966/text phone.
When making a report, be sure to have the following information:
- Name of the child
- Name of the parent(s)
- Name of the alleged abuser
- Where the child can be located
The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Unit utilizes Signs of Safety when screening calls.
You will also be asked:
- What are the worrying behaviors that you are calling about today?
- What happened to the child/children as a result of the worrying behaviors?
- What are you most worried will happen to the child/children if nothing in the family changes?
- What actions have been taken other than making this call?
- Is there anything going on in or around that family that would make this situation more difficult to handle?
- What are the best aspects of the adult’s care for the child/children?
- What needs to happen differently for you to be confident the child/children are safe enough?
- On a scale of 0-10 where 10 means the child is completely safe right now and 0 means that if no action is taken, the child could be seriously hurt or injured in the next 24 hours, where would you rate this family?
What If I’m Not Sure It’s Abuse or Neglect?
You can call the local Children’s Division office to discuss your concerns. They can advise you whether or not to call the hotline. They can also give you advice that might help you help the family in crisis.
Err on the side of over-reporting. If you have the thought, "Maybe I should call…" — DO! Not all calls to the hotline are determined to be abuse/neglect. However, the Children’s Division can often provide services and assistance that can help families prevent abuse.
Members of certain occupational groups, such as teachers, social workers, and physicians are mandated by law to make reports to the hotline and are considered mandated reporters. For a complete list of mandated reporters, please review RSMo 210.115.1.
Mandated reporters can report suspected child abuse and neglect by calling the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline directly, or by making a report online. Online reporting should only be used in non-emergency situations.
Effective August 28, 2004, Missouri law requires all mandated reporters to identify themselves when making a report. For more information, review the guidelines for mandated reporters.