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The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the governmental agency charged with conducting Child Abuse and Neglect investigations and providing all child welfare services to families in the state.
100 West Randolph Street 6-200
Chicago, IL 60601
406 East Monroe
Springfield, IL 62701-1498
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Abuse Hotline
For more information about DCFS, contact the DCFS Office of Communications at 217-785-1700, or go to www.illinois.gov/dcfs/Pages/default.aspx.
Chicago Children's Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) and their partners are the front-line responders in Chicago to reports of child sexual abuse, as well as reports of physical abuse of children under age 3. ChicagoCAC’s mission is to unite public, private and community partners to ensure the safety, health and well-being of abused children.
ChicagoCAC’s education and outreach department offers trainings for professionals, community members and parents related to child abuse, sexual abuse and trauma. Visit their website to learn about the latest offerings or to schedule a customized training for your agency or group: www.ChicagoCAC.org
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Chicago, IL 60608
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office is a governmental agency whose mission is to secure justice, promote the public health and safety, and serve as the legal representatives of Cook County.
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Chicago, IL 60602
The Chicago Board of Education employs more than 26,000 teachers, and is responsible for educating about 420,000 students in 486 schools. Its goal is to become the premier urban school district in the country by providing all students and their families with high quality instruction, outstanding academic programs, and comprehensive student development supports to prepare them for the challenges of the world of tomorrow.
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Mentor: Absolutely! Confidentiality and anonymity of reporters is the LAW. DCFS cannot disclose the name of a reporter without an order from a judge. This will usually happen only if juvenile or criminal court proceedings are initiated against the parent or perpetrator.
Mentor: It''s just human nature for parents to want to know who reported them for child abuse, so some families may accuse friends, neighbors, or professionals who work with their children of calling the Hotline. The parent may be hoping YOU will confirm that you made the call. If you feel comfortable with the parent, you can explain that you were mandated to report your suspicions. You can also assure the parent that you want to help and support the family in any way you can. If you don't feel comfortable, you have no obligation to confirm or deny the parent's suspicions. If you feel threatened by a family member, call the police.
Mentor: Yes. If you made the report in good faith - meaning that you had reasonable cause to believe that child abuse occurred - you are protected by law. The law presumes that you acted in good faith.
Mentor: Mandated Reporters should never assume that another professional who is involved with the child has already reported the situation to the Hotline. It is your responsibility to call and report what you know about the situation. Even if a report has already been made, your information is still valuable, as it could assist the investigator in deciding whether to indicate the report.
Mentor: No. It is your individual responsibility as a Mandated Reporter to ENSURE that a child abuse report is made to the Hotline. Telling your supervisor or anyone else does not fulfill your legal obligation. You must ensure that the report is made. You may want to suggest that you and your supervisor make the Hotline call together, especially if you both have first-hand information regarding the child. For purposes of documentation, it may be beneficial for the administrator or staff member to jointly complete and sign on the written confirmation of the verbal report before submitting it to the local DCFS office.
Mentor: Although every organization has its own internal policies on reporting child abuse/neglect, the law states that under no circumstances shall any person in charge of an institution control, restrain, or modify a child abuse/neglect report.
Mentor: Mandated Reporters who intentionally fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect can be charged with a misdemeanor (first violation) or a class 4 felony (second or subsequent violation). In addition, Mandated Reporters who have a license may lose that license to practice their professions.
Mentor: Typically the answer is NO. The investigator will ask to interview the child alone and away from any type of influence. But if the child insists on having you present, the investigator will ask you to sign a statement promising not to disclose anything you hear in the interview. The investigator will keep a copy of your signed non-disclosure statement in the case file. If you were present at the interview and the case goes to court, you may be called to testify.
Mentor: Not unless it''s absolutely necessary. The investigator goes to the home, speaks with the parents and the child, and then assesses whether the child is safe there.
Investigators can only remove children from the home when there is an urgent and immediate risk to their safety. DCFS tries to keep families together whenever possible by implementing safety plans and providing services to keep the children safe.
Mentor: If depends on the circumstances. DCFS tries to place the children with responsible relatives, whenever possible. If that's not possible, they may go into foster care.
No matter where the child is placed, it''s only temporary until a judge hears the case. When a child is taken into temporary protective custody, DCFS must bring the case to the attention of a judge within 48 hours (excluding weekends). The judge will decide whether the child will remain in the temporary custody of DCFS, return to the custody of his/her parents, or be placed with a responsible relative.
Mentor: Not really. All you really need to remember is 1-800-25-ABUSE. Any time you suspect abuse or neglect, make the call. Not sure you have enough details? Make the call anyway. Not sure if it really fits the criteria for abuse or neglect? Don't sweat over the decision - go ahead and call. That's why the Hotline is there.
Mentor: Absolutely. An updated version of the Mandated Reporter Manual may always be accessed through the DCFS website at www.illinois.gov/dcfs/Pages/default.aspx.
|Alleged Victim||The child who is suspected of being a victim of child abuse or neglect.|
|ANCRA||Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) is an important Illinois law guiding child protection and child welfare interventions.|
|Child||A person under 18 years of age.|
|CPI||This is an abbreviation for a DCFS Child Protection Investigator who is assigned to investigate a Child Abuse Hotline Report of child abuse or neglect. (added 7/8/06)|
|Credible Evidence||Available facts when viewed in light of surrounding circumstances would cause a reasonable person to believe that a child may have been abused or neglected.|
|DCFS||Department of Children and Family Services|
|Hotline Worker||The individual who answers the phone when you call the Illinois Child Abuse Hotline.|
|Indicated Report||The determination that is made when an investigator has found credible evidence that a child was abused or neglected.|
|Paramour||The parent's significant other, to whom the parent is not married; the parent's boyfriend or girlfriend.|
|Perpetrator||The person(s) inflicting the child abuse or neglect.
For DCFS, this includes any individual residing in the childs home, any person responsible for the child's welfare, or anyone who came to know the child through a position of trust, such as mother, father, teacher, counselor, or coach to name a few.
For criminal matters a perpetrator could be anybody.
|State Central Registry (SCR)||The official name of the Child Abuse Hotline in Illinois.|
|Unfounded Report||The determination that is made when an investigator has not found credible evidence that a child was abused or neglected.|
Instructions: In each of the three categories, click on the key to see its definition and click on the flag to see possible signs of the category of abuse or neglect.
|CANTS 4||Written Confirmation of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Report: Medical Professionals|
|CANTS 5||Written Confirmation of Child Abuse/Neglect Report: Mandated Reporters
(Form to complete after you make a report.)
|CANTS 22||Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status|
|CANTS 22 Spanish||Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status in Spanish|
|CANTS 22a||Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status for Clergy|
|CANTS 22a Spanish||Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status for Clergy in Spanish|
|CANTS 22b||Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status for Foster Parents|
|CANTS 22b Spanish||Acknowledgment of Mandated Reporter Status for Foster Parents in Spanish|
|CANTS 55||Mandated Caller, No Report Taken Form|
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