Child Abuse Response

Responding to child abuse and neglect involves protecting children from harm and supporting families to reduce the risk of future harm to children. When Child Protective Services (in NJ this is known as Division of Child Protective and Permanency, or DCP&P) staff receive reports from professionals and concerned citizens alerting them to concerns about a child’s welfare, they may initiate an investigation to determine if a child has been or is at risk of being harmed. Staff may also assess the child’s and family’s needs or engage in other interventions to support the family’s efforts to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their children. A child may then be referred to a Child Advocacy Center (CAC), where a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) will work together to provide the best possible services to the child and family

Please click one of the links below to learn more about each topic.

A child advocacy center is the ONE place that provides a safe, child-friendly environment where law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical and mental health professionals may share information and develop effective, coordinated strategies sensitive to the needs of each unique case and child.

A multi-disciplinary team, or MDT, working within a Child Advocacy Center is a team of professionals that come from different disciplines and agencies to provide cohesive services to the child and family. These professionals work together to coordinate services such as medical exams, forensic interviews, victim advocacy, counseling, investigation, prosecution, and more. The hope of providing these services in a coordinated and collaborative way is to provide support for the child and their family throughout every step of the process and aid them on their path to healing.

The MDT approach to child abuse investigations provides many benefits, including:

  • Lowering the amount of trauma to the child because they only have to tell their story once versus re-telling it to each professional.
  • Teamwork and shared ideas can lead to better treatments and interventions for the client
  • Enhanced quantity and quality of referrals made
  • A larger support system

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Promoting hope, healing, and justice for New Jersey children
NJ Child Abuse Hotline (877) 652-2873

Who Is Responsible For Reporting Suspected Child Abuse In New Jersey?
In New Jersey, ANY person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected has a legal responsibility to report it to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously. Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both.

How Do I Report Child Abuse In New Jersey?
Call New Jersey’s Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1 (877) NJ ABUSE (652-2873) (TTY/TDD use 1 (800) 835-5510. Outside the state of New Jersey, call (800) 422-4453. They are available and will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a child is in immediate danger, you should call 911.

Do Callers Have Immunity From Civil Or Criminal Liability?
Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Calls can be placed to the hotline anonymously.

What Happens When I Call The Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline?
The hotline is answered by trained caseworkers who know how to respond to reports of child abuse/neglect. This caseworker may ask you about:

  • Who: The child and parent/caregiver’s name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person’s relationship to the child.
  • What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
  • When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
  • Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
  • How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.

What Happens After I Make The Call?
When a report indicates that a child may be at risk, the Division of Child Protection & Permanency will promptly investigate the allegations of child abuse and neglect within 24 hours of receipt of the report.

We all care about children. We urge you to report any concern about the welfare of a child to DCP&P, the legal authorities responsible for investigating suspected situations of abuse. You should call 1 (877) NJ-ABUSE and let them know the details of your concern. They will take the matter seriously and gather information that is in the best interest of the child.