Reporting Child Abuse

California law defines child abuse as any of the following:
• A child is physically injured by other than accidental means.
• A child is subjected to willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment.
• A child is abused or exploited sexually.
• A child is neglected by a parent or caretaker who fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision.

If you suspect child abuse, please report is to Child Protective Services at (800) 540-4000. The CPS is the major system of intervention of child abuse and neglect in California. Existing law provides for services to abused and neglected children and their families. The CPS goal is to keep the child in his/her own home when it is safe, and when the child is at risk, to develop an alternate plan as quickly as possible.

When a referral is received, the social service staff obtains facts from the person making the referral to determine if the referral alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The Emergency Response staff determines if an in-person response is indicated. Whenever a report indicates the need for protection, CPS will:
• Accept the case
• Intervene in the crisis, if required
• Apply Family Preservation and Support Services for some families
• Assess or identify problems, gather facts and clarify the problems
• Plan and provide services, set goals, identify resources and time frames
• Document the case
• Terminate the case or transfer it to another program