The Hotline number: 1-800-842-2288.
Who should call: Anyone who has a "reasonable suspicion" that a child is the victim of abuse or neglect.
Who must call: Mandated reporters such as school personnel, doctors and counselors (just to name a few) are required to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child. Within 48 hours of making a report to the Hotline mandated reporters must complete a written report of suspected child abuse/neglect - DCF form 136. Mandated reporters who fail to report may be fined $500-$2,500 and will be required to participate in an educational training program.
The process: A DCF employee known as a "screener" or intake worker will field the call. They will gather information such as the identity of the family, age of the child, siblings, name(s) of the person(s) responsible for the child's care and of course details concerning the alleged abuse or neglect.
The decision: Accept or non-accept? The screener must then decide whether the allegations merit some form of additional DCF involvement - an accepted referral. DCF received 95,000 Hotline calls last year. 45,000 of these were accepted. About 11,000 of these calls led to full DCF investigations. If the caller fails to provide sufficient information or the allegation (even if true) does not qualify as abuse or neglect the call will be deemed a "non-accept."
The investigation: The DCF response time to commence an investigation will vary depending on the severity of the accepted referral. An emergency requires a 2 hour response time. For those investigations less urgent, there are 24 hour and 72 hour response times.
Penalty for false reports: Fine of $2,000, year imprisonment or both.
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