Bakersfield (Main Office)
100 E California Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93307
(661) 631-6000
(661) 631-6200 (TTY)

Child Abuse Reporting

Report suspected abuse or neglect:

Child Abuse Hotline:
(661) 631-6011 (Countywide)
(760) 375-6049 (Ridgecrest)
(Report 24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
For all emergencies call 911

Mandated Reporters

Mandated Reporter Manual, "A Guide to Mandated Reporting Responsibilities"
California Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training

Mandated Reporters may obtain forms here:
California Department of Justice Child Protection Program Forms

What Is Child Abuse and Neglect?

Child abuse is the purposeful physical injury inflicted on a child by a parent, guardian or other adult. Child neglect is any treatment or mistreatment that threatens the child's health, safety or welfare. Abuse and neglect can be categorized as follows:

  • Sexual Abuse: any sexual act by an adult in the presence of a child or to a child
  • Physical Abuse: bodily injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means
  • Emotional Abuse: non-physical mistreatment that endangers a child's emotional health
  • General Neglect: failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred
  • Severe Neglect: refers to situations where the child's health and life is endangered, including severe malnutrition and failure to thrive
  • Exploitation: forcing or coercing a child into performing activities that are beyond the child's capabilities or which are illegal or degrading

Common Indicators of Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Repeated or suspicious injuries or ‘accidents’
  • Neglected appearance: dirty and hungry, not dressed appropriately for the weather
  • Passive or withdrawn behavior
  • Disruptive behavior at home or school
  • Sudden personality change
  • Sexual acting out or inappropriate sexual knowledge
  • Sudden onset of eating disorders
  • Child lacking in medical or dental care
  • Disclosure of abuse or neglect by the child

While some of these factors may exist in any home, it is the extreme or persistent presence of these factors that indicate a degree of abuse or neglect. A messy or untidy home does not necessarily mean the home is unfit or that the child is a victim of neglect.

Trained investigators and medical professionals have a great deal of knowledge about the nature of a particular injury to a child. This information is used to distinguish accidental injuries from suspected physical abuse.

Why Do People Abuse Children?

Most everyone has the potential to abuse a child at some time. Here are some common characteristics and possible factors that may cause a parent or guardian to abuse a child:

  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of age appropriate behaviors
  • Inability to properly cope with the pressures of life
  • Socially isolated, no support system (in the form of family or friends) to help tired or overwhelmed people
  • Disruption of family structure, such as divorce or death
  • Poverty and Unemployment
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • History of child abuse or neglect in their own family of origin
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor health of parent or guardian

When and How Do I Report Suspected Abuse and Neglect?

If there is imminent danger call 911

24 Hour Hotline number is 661.631.6011

A number of people in various professions are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Some of these Mandated Reporters are:

  • Day care providers
  • School bus drivers
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Social workers
  • Firefighters
  • Police officers
  • Hotline volunteers
  • Probation officers
  • Photographic film processors

When you report suspected child abuse or neglect, please provide as much information as possible with regard to the situation: child's name, parent's name, address, phone number and the reason why you are concerned. You do not have to give your name, but it helps us if we have further questions. If you do give us your name, your identity is kept strictly confidential.

Mandated Reporters may call our 24 Hour Hotline number at 661.631.6011 or send referrals by fax 661.631.6568 during regular business hours.

Mandated Reporter Manual, "A Guide to Mandated Reporting Responsibilities"

Mandated Reporters may obtain forms here:
California Department of Justice Child Protection Program Forms

What Happens After I Make A Report?

Once a report of suspected child abuse or neglect has been made, various steps are taken as a part of the resolution process. These steps generally involve the Child Welfare Services and Juvenile Court. The resolution process consists of four main components:

1. Emergency Response: The Child Welfare Service's investigation will determine if abuse or neglect is occurring, if a child is at risk in the home and if protective custody is necessary

2. Family Maintenance: To provide support services to prevent abuse and/or neglect while the child continues to live in his or her own home

3. Family Reunification: To provide support services to the family while the child is in temporary out-of-home care [foster care or placed with relatives.] These services include counseling, parent training and referrals to other community resources, to address precipitating factors such as substance abuse or domestic violence.

4. Permanent Placement: This occurs when children cannot be returned to their families. These children are referred for permanent placement through adoptions, legal guardianship or long-term foster care.

Child abuse and neglect is a community problem and a community responsibility. Until YOU make a commitment, there can be no solution.

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