New York State | Child Abuse: New York Mandated Reporter Training Course
Infection Control & Barrier Precautions, Education for Prescribing Controlled Substances, and Child Abuse Reporter Training
Meet Your New York Continuing Requirements Quickly & Affordably.

Authors: Alyssa King (DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, PMHNP-BC, CLC, CNE)

Course Outline


≥ 92% of participants will know how to make an informed decision about whether a situation involves child abuse or maltreatment, what the reporting obligation is, and how to go about making such a report.


After completing this continuing education course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Determine if a child shows indicators of maltreatment or abuse, including in a virtual setting.

  2. Recognize the impact of trauma and ACEs on children, families, and yourself.

  3. Recognize the mitigating effects of the five protective factors on trauma.

  4. Recognize the impact of bias on your decision-making.

  5. Understand when you have a legal obligation to call the SCR.

  6. Recognize how you may better connect individuals and families with services.

  7. Know how to prepare to make the call to the SCR.

  8. Know how to complete the LDSS 2221A form.

  9. Understand your rights as a Mandated Reporter.

Updates to New York State Requirements

This 2-hour course was developed and updated per the 2023 updates to the curriculum content for the Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect mandated workshop for the state of New York. An extensive list of additional content was required to be added after being signed into law amendments to Social Services Law § 413. This course includes all of the required content and curriculum as developed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (New York State [NYS], 2022).

Also, per New York requirements, all professions must complete both a pre-test and a post-test, both of which are included in this course, in order to demonstrate the transfer of knowledge and information about their duties and responsibilities as Mandated Reporters of child abuse and maltreatment.


This course is specifically and carefully created for New York professionals. This course will cover when you are legally required to contact the Statewide Central Register (SCR), when children and families may be more appropriately assisted through community-based services and other supports, how to reduce bias in the decision-making process of whether a call must be made to SCR, the impact of trauma as well as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on children and families, and the protective factors and supports that you are able to refer families to in lieu of making a SCR report (NYS, 2022).

Why is this Training so Important?

Studies have concluded that professionals who have contact with children often report only half of the incidents that may be abuse or maltreatment/neglect. The reason for this low report rate has historically been due to confusion or misunderstanding about the laws and procedures and a lack of knowledge or awareness of warning signs. This prompted the state of New York to require Mandated Reporter training several years ago.

In light of additional challenges within New York State in the past couple of years and a keen awareness of the impact of appropriate training and resources for its’ Mandated Reporters, the New York State social services laws have been amended. This training is meant to communicate these changes to further assist and equip each professional with the tools they need to identify and report suspected child abuse and maltreatment.


The SCR began in 1973 with the passing of the Child Protective Services Act. This law required the following:

  • Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse or maltreatment by specific professionals. The list of those professionals can be found in the New York Social Services Law §413. This list changes as legislation is updated.
  • The creation of a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week central registry, known in New York as the SCR, to receive reports. The SCR is operated by the New York State Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS).
  • The creation of local Child Protective Services (CPS) to receive and investigate registered reports. In New York, local district CPS offices are staffed by human service professionals trained to investigate allegations of child abuse and maltreatment.

The laws that guide New York Child Protective Services today are Article 6, Title 6 of the Social Services Law (specifically Sections 411-428), and Article 10 of the Family Court Act (specifically Section 1012). To read the complete sections of these laws, click here. Make sure to select: Laws > Laws of New York from the dropdown menu and then scroll down to “SOS” for Social Services Law or “FCT” for Family Court Law.

Social Services Law requires SCR as a single contact for reporting child abuse or maltreatment and CPS in each local department of social services (NYS, 2022). CPS requires strong partnerships within the community in order to help prevent child abuse and maltreatment (NYS, 2022). It is also vital to know that certain professionals have been designated as “Mandated Reporters” who must report child abuse or maltreatment under the law (NYS, 2022).

Historical Perspectives: University of Rochester

In 1999, the Monroe County Department of Social Services engaged the University of Rochester’s Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and the Perinatal Network of Rochester to conduct research for a campaign to increase community involvement to prevent child abuse and maltreatment and to improve reporting. Mandated Reporters were included as a group in this study.

As a result of these and other studies, we know that child abuse and maltreatment are underreported and that, conversely, some situations that are reported to the New York State Central Register (SCR) are more suitable for preventive services or other resources.

This training is designed to provide an understanding of the preventive-protective continuum of care within the Child Protective Services (CPS) system as it operates in New York State.

Shared Mission

The OCFS, SCR, and local CPS agencies work together for a shared mission (NYS, 2022). They work together with Mandated Reporters to prioritize and promote the well-being of New York’s children, family, and communities (NYS, 2022). Mandated Reporters are so named because of their legal obligation to call the SCR. However, this only applies in certain situations. Families in crisis may, in fact, not meet the legal criteria required to call the SCR and may be better served by being connected to a range of community services in their area instead (NYS, 2022). Mandated Reporters have the opportunity to connect families to the following New York resources (NYS, 2022)


The OCFS H.E.A.R.S. stands for Help, Empower, Advocate, Reassure, and Support. This is a family line that assists families by providing necessary resources and referrals to a variety of services, including food, clothing, childcare, housing, and even parent education.

OCFS HEARS representatives are ready and available to help Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. If you know or come across a family that could use support, please ask them to call the OCFS HEARS family line at 888-554-3277.

Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)

In addition to the OCFS family line, the OCFS provides a list of the resources they have available as well as in-depth information regarding ACEs on their website here.

New York (NY) Project Hope

The NY Project Hope provides emotional support for New York State residents. Access to them includes the options of an Emotional Support Helpline (1-844-863-9314), online wellness support groups, and an extensive website filled with supportive resources. Their website can be found here.

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

This office has a website that provides numerous resources for people who may be experiencing currently or who are survivors of domestic violence. This website can be found here.

Prevent Child Abuse New York

This organization has a prevention and parent helpline that is available for parents and caregivers that is confidential. It is available for multiple languages. It can refer or connect caregivers to community-based services.

This helpline is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The contact number is 1-800-CHILDREN.

Additional Resources

Parents and caregivers are also able to call 2-1-1, which is operated by the United Way, for information regarding health and human services, referrals, assessments, and crisis support to help them find the assistance they require to address the everyday challenges of living, as well as those that develop during times of disaster or other community emergencies.

2-1-1 is multi-lingual and open and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Per New York, for more information on what other services are available for children and parents in your community, feel free to visit here.


Youth violence is a central public health issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 176,000 people between the ages of 15 and 29 are killed every year, making it the third leading cause of death for individuals in this age group (World Health Organization [WHO], 2023). Sexual violence is also shown to affect a significant proportion of youth as well, as evidenced by about 1 in 8 young people who report being sexually abused (WHO, 2023).

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 7 children suffer from abuse or neglect every year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2022a). Even then, this is likely an underestimate because numerous cases go unreported (CDC, 2022a). In 2020 alone, more than 1,750 children died due to abuse and neglect just in the United States (CDC, 2022a). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) report, there were more than 56,000 victims of child maltreatment in the state of New York just in the year 2021 (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System [NCANDS], 2021).

There is a large gap between the true prevalence of child abuse and the number of cases that are brought forward to CPS (Baker et al., 2021). Each and every year, CPS investigates over 3 million children and their families nationally (Rizvi et al., 2023). Of this number of families, 20% produce evidence of maltreatment that is substantiated (Rizvi et al., 2023). In New York alone, there are over 150,000 referrals that are made concerning possible abuse and neglect every year (Gonzalez et al., 2023). Nearly half of these children are confirmed victims (Gonzalez et al., 2023). While males and females seem to be equally affected, the highest risk of abuse and neglect are in children who are less than 3 years of age and those who are African American and Native American (Brown et al., 2023; Melmer & Gutovitz, 2023). Of the number of abused children, 75% suffer neglect, 15-20% suffer physical abuse, and 5-10% endure sexual abuse (Brown et al., 2023; Melmer & Gutovitz, 2023).

The majority of reports of child abuse are made by Mandated Reporters. This is due to their professional experience and Mandated Reporter training (Baker et al., 2021).

Understanding Trauma & Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)


Trauma is defined as an intense event that threatens a person’s life or safety in a way that is too much for the mind to handle and leaves the person powerless (NYS, 2022).

Trauma can bring about physical reactions including (NYS, 2022):

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tense muscles
  • Shallow breathing

Common traumatic events could be going through or witnessing (NYS, 2022):

  • Family violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Violence in the community

For many parents, having a child removed from the home and dealing with the child welfare system are traumatic events (NYS, 2022).

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are negative experiences or events that are potentially traumatic. These events are those that occur from birth through about 17 years of age (CDC, 2023).

ACEs can include all the following situations as listed in the following image:

Image #1:
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

graphic showing adverse childhood experiences

This list, however, is not fully inclusive. Additional examples of ACEs include (CDC, 2023; Integrative Life Center, 2021):

  • Experiencing violence or neglect
  • Experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Witnessing violence occurring in the community
  • Having a family member attempt or die by suicide
  • Having a family member who has a mental health problem
  • Experiencing divorce/custody battles

Child maltreatment and abuse are adverse childhood experiences (NYS, 2022).

Trauma-Informed Practice

Trauma-informed practice, or trauma-informed care (TIC) is a model for engaging with individuals and families that recognizes the impact and influence that trauma may have on the individuals and families you serve (NYS, 2022). The goals of a trauma-informed practice are to avoid the inadvertent re-traumatization of individuals through your own interactions with them and to understand that trauma may have an impact on a person’s behavior (NYS, 2022).

Trauma-informed practice will assist you in identifying when your own past experiences or trauma may impact the way you evaluate an incident you encounter in your professional role (NYS, 2022).

This patient-centered approach focuses on the basic understanding that the trauma the patient has endured greatly impacts their life from now on (Tracy & Macias-Konstantopoulos, 2023). This approach aims to avoid any possible reinjury, focus on survivor strengths and overarching resilience, empower healing and recovery, and promote the creation of survivorship skills (Tracy & Macias-Konstantopoulos, 2023).

Trauma-informed practice can be applied to all patients as it simply involves the healthcare personnel's practice modification to be critically aware of the general traumatic events this specific patient has lived through (Tracy & Macias-Konstantopoulos, 2023; Gaillard-Kenney et al., 2020).

Understanding and Reducing Implicit & Explicit Bias

Implicit Bias in Decision-Making

As human beings, we all have our own biases (NYS, 2022). Whether implicit or explicit, these biases affect our beliefs, decisions, and actions. A bias is a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgement against a person, place, or thing. Biases, including how a person sounds, looks, and even where they live, may influence our decision-making process (NYS, 2022).

An implicit bias is a bias or prejudice that is present but not consciously held or recognized, so we are often unaware of them (NYS, 2022).

An explicit bias is a personal and unreasoned judgment that we have about a person, place, or thing on a conscious level or one that we are aware of (NYS, 2022).

Both implicit and explicit bias can show up as prejudice, discrimination, and/or oppression on individual, group, or systemic levels (NYS, 2022). Individual biases are often deeply ingrained and are born out of a long history rife with unequal treatment of different social groups, individual’s upbringing, discrimination and oppression, cultural conditioning, and stereotypical portrayals of social groups (NYS, 2022). The impact of decisions made that are rooted in biases often have significant impacts on individuals, social groups, and communities (NYS, 2022).

One of the benefits of being aware of the potential impact of your own biases is that you can choose to take a proactive role in reducing how they impact your decision-making (NYS, 2022).

Understanding the Impact of Implicit Bias in Child Welfare

National research shows, and OCFS data confirms, that disparities exist throughout the child welfare system presently and historically (NYS, 2022).

OCFS’ Disproportionate Minority Representation (DMR) data shows historical overrepresentation of children and families of color in the child welfare system (NYS, 2022). Families of color have been more likely to be involved in a report to the SCR (NYS, 2022). Children of color have been more likely to be placed in foster care and generally experience slower achievement of permanency goals (NYS, 2022).

Research shows that income status of families is a significant predictor of involvement with the child welfare system (NYS, 2022). Poverty in and of itself does not equate to child abuse or maltreatment (NYS, 2022).

Research also shows that families that have been investigated by CPS often have several poverty-related risk factors such as (NYS, 2022):

  • Single parenthood
  • Housing instability
  • Food insecurity
  • Unemployment
  • Lack of access to childcare

Families living below the poverty line are three times more likely to be substantiated for child maltreatment (NYS, 2022). This disparity has devastating and long-lasting impacts on both families and communities (NYS, 2022).

Mandated Reporters

Required Mandated Reporters may change over time as legislature is passed (NYS OCFS, n.d.-a). The most recent list of those who are Mandated Reporters can be found in the Social Services Law § 413 here.

The following professional persons or officials are Mandated Reporters in the state of New York in accordance with Social Services Law § 413 as of April 2024 (NYS OCFS, 2024):

  • Physician
  • Registered physician’s assistant
  • Surgeon
  • Medical examiner
  • Coroner
  • Dentist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Osteopath
  • Optometrist
  • Chiropractor
  • Podiatrist
  • Resident
  • Intern
  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Social worker
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Licensed creative arts therapist
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist
  • Licensed mental health counselor
  • Licensed psychoanalyst
  • Certified behavioral analyst assistants
  • Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of patients
  • Christian Science practitioner
  • School officials, including (but not limited to):
    • School teacher
    • School guidance counselor
    • School psychologist
    • School social worker
    • School nurse
    • School administrator or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate
  • Full or part-time compensated school employee required to hold a temporary license or professional coaching certificate
  • Social services worker
  • Director of a children's overnight camp, summer day camp, or traveling camp
  • Employee of a publicly funded emergency shelter for families with children
  • Daycare center worker
  • School-age childcare worker
  • Provider of family or group family daycare
  • Employee or volunteer in a residential care facility for children
  • Any other childcare or foster care worker
  • Licensed behavior analysts
  • Mental health professional
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Alcoholism counselor
  • All persons credentialed by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • Peace officer
  • Police officer
  • District attorney
  • Assistant district attorney
  • Investigator employed in the office of the district attorney
  • Any other law enforcement official
  • Employees of a home health or home healthcare management agency who have regular and substantial contact with children
  • Employees who provide home and community-based services under a Social Security Act § 1115 demonstration project, who have regular and substantial contact with children
  • Athletic trainer (effective 12/2025)

Whenever such a person is required to report as a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility, or agency, he or she shall make the report as required by their title. No retaliatory personnel action is allowed.

Mandated Reporters are required by law to call the SCR when in their professional role, they develop a reasonable cause to suspect a child under the age of 18 is being maltreated or abused by a parent or person over the age of 18 who is legally responsible for the care of the child at the relevant time (NYS, 2022).

If the Mandated Reporter calls the local county Department of Social Services office or a law enforcement official, then that Mandated Reporter HAS NOT fulfilled their legal duty to report to the SCR.

Professional Role

A Mandated Reporter’s professional role is defined as a work or volunteer role that requires your specific licensure or certification (NYS, 2022).

Reasonable Cause to Suspect

A “reasonable cause to suspect” occurs when what you have observed or been told, combined with your professional experience or training, leads you to reasonably believe that a child has been or is being maltreated or abused (NYS, 2022). A reasonable suspicion does NOT require proof a child has been maltreated or abused (NYS, 2022). One indicator or several indicators in combination may give you a reasonable suspicion (NYS, 2022). Poverty, by itself, does not equate to maltreatment or abuse (NYS, 2022).

Person Legally Responsible (PLR)

The term and acronym “PLR” includes the child’s custodian, guardian, and any person responsible for the child’s care at the relevant time (NYS, 2022).

The term “custodian” may include any person continually, or at regular intervals, found in the same household as the child when the conduct of such person causes or contributes to the abuse or maltreatment of the child (NYS, 2022).

As mentioned, Mandated Reporters have a legal obligation to file a report, but there is also a framework for protection and guidance to support them.

There are three components to the legal framework applicable to Mandated Reporters:

  1. Confidentiality

  2. Immunity from Liability

  3. Penalties for Failure to Report

  4. No medical or other public or private institution, school, facility, or agency shall take any retaliatory personnel action against an employee who made a report to the SCR. No school, school official, childcare provider, foster care provider, residential care facility provider, hospital, medical institution provider, or mental health facility provider shall impose any conditions, including prior approval or prior notification, upon a member of their staff mandated to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment.


According to Social Services Law § 422 (4)(A), state law provides confidentiality for Mandated Reporters and all sources of child abuse and maltreatment reports (NYS, 2022). However, CPS or the SCR may be required to provide the identity of the source of the CPS report in very limited circumstances and only as described in the law (NYS, 2022).

For more information on when the identity of a source of a report to the SCR may be disclosed, please visit here (NYS, 2022).

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (commonly referred to as “HIPAA”) contains specific provisions allowing healthcare and other professionals to report information to the SCR, including personally protected health information that is otherwise confidential (NYS, 2022). Your legal obligation to report suspected child abuse and maltreatment under New York State law supersedes client-patient confidentiality provisions (NYS, 2022).

Liability & Immunity

New York law gives all Mandated Reporters immunity from civil and criminal liability whenever a Mandated Reporter makes a report because they had a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment (NYS, 2022). The law assumes Mandated Reporters make such reports in “good faith” and, therefore, Mandated Reporters are protected, even if CPS finds no evidence of abuse or maltreatment (NYS, 2022).

A Mandated Reporter who fails to call the SCR when they have a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or maltreatment while in their professional role may be subjected to criminal and civil liability (NYS, 2022). The Mandated Reporter may also be held civilly liable for any harm suffered by a child due to their failure to call the SCR (NYS, 2022).

It is important to know that no employer or organization is permitted to require that you seek or obtain approval prior to calling the SCR (NYS, 2022). Your legal obligations as a Mandated Reporter are personal to you, and your organization may not impede you from calling the SCR (NYS, 2022). All employers and organizations are also prohibited from retaliating against you in any way for fulfilling your duties as a Mandated Reporter (NYS, 2022). The law does not require multiple reports on the same incident from the same organization (NYS, 2022).

Some Mandated Reporters face a conflict between their legal obligation to report and their legal obligation to maintain client or patient confidentiality. As we have been discussing, it is Social Services Law § 419 that provides immunity from liability for Mandated Reporters. The good faith of such a person, official, or institution required to report is presumed. This means if a person accuses you of making a false report in bad faith, they have to PROVE you acted with gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Penalties for Failure to Report

According to Social Services Law § 420, Mandated Reporters are subject to serious consequences for failure to report. A Mandated Reporter who fails to report can be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor can result in a penalty of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000.00, or both.

Additionally, failing to report may result in a lawsuit in civil court for monetary damages for any harm caused by the Mandated Reporter’s failure to make the report to the SCR, including wrongful death suits.

Professional Capacity of the Mandated Reporter

Professional capacity is defined as any time that a person is acting within the scope of their employment or carrying out functions as part of the duties and responsibilities of their profession.

Examples of “on duty” or “on the clock” versus “off duty”:

  • A doctor examining a child in her practice who has a reasonable suspicion of abuse must report her concern.
  • In contrast, the doctor who witnesses child abuse when riding her bike while off-duty is not mandated to report that abuse.

The Mandated Reporter's legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment ceases when the Mandated Reporter stops practicing his/her profession. Of course, anyone may still report any suspected abuse or maltreatment at any time and is encouraged to do so; they are just not legally obligated.

Defining Minimum Degree of Care

Let’s review the standards of the state of New York for the minimum degree of care that must be provided to a child.

Parents and PLRs in New York State must provide their children with the minimum degree of care (NYS, 2022). This requires adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, and supervision (NYS, 2022).

Adequate Education

As mentioned above, a minimum degree of care must be provided to a child. In addition to adequate food, clothing, and shelter, every child is afforded an adequate education.

Parents are to ensure that the children in their care are actively enrolled in school (NYS, 2022). To be actively enrolled in school does not mean a child has to be earning high grades, participating in extracurricular activities, or have perfect attendance (NYS, 2022). The minimum degree of care regarding adequate education is measured by looking at the conduct of the parent after considering any efforts previously made by the school and/or CPS (NYS, 2022). We will get more into the definition of educational neglect in a future section.

Adequate Medical Care

Each child is also afforded the right to adequate medical care. This includes basic dental care, mental health services, and treatment for drug or alcohol misuse (NYS, 2022).

Adequate Supervision

All children must be adequately supervised. There is no provision in New York State law or regulation that dictates how old a child must be to be left alone without adult supervision (NYS, 2022). Determining whether a child can be safely left alone must be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on many things (NYS, 2022). A child left alone in a residence or in the community must be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to properly respond to a potential emergency and to care for themselves (NYS, 2022). Also, it is important to remember that just because an individual child may be left safely alone does not mean that that child has the necessary skills to also supervise other children without an adult present (NYS, 2022).

No Excessive Corporal Punishment

In addition to the above components of the minimum level of care, no excessive corporal punishment is allowed to be used on children (NYS, 2022).

New York State law permits parents to utilize corporal (physical) punishment in order to discipline their children, but it is not allowed to be excessive (NYS, 2022). Excessive corporal punishment includes when (NYS, 2022):

  • A less severe method is available and likely to be effective
  • The length of punishment surpasses the child’s endurance
  • The punishment is inflicted due to the parent’s rage
  • The child receives injuries or bruises as a result
  • The child lacks the capacity to understand the corrective quality of the discipline

An example may help to clarify this point:

A parent slaps their twelve-year-old son once for being disrespectful. The child did not sustain any bruises. This type of discipline would not generally be considered “excessive.”

A parent slaps their twelve-year-old son for being disrespectful. As a result of this level of physical discipline, the child sustained a bruise and a slight laceration on the right side of his cheek. This type of discipline would be considered “excessive” and necessitate filing a registered report.

The “minimum degree of care” regarding adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care must be considered regarding whether or not the parent or PLR was financially able to provide these things or was offered other financial or reasonable means to do so (NYS, 2022).

Defining Maltreatment & Abuse

When identifying suspected child abuse and maltreatment, begin by considering the child. Carefully review what has happened to the child that leads you to believe there is harm or risk of harm to the child.

Consider how the parent or other persons legally responsible may be culpable for this condition or circumstance.

Always start with the child and establish his or her condition, and then explore the involvement of the parent or person legally responsible for the child's care.

There are definitions you must understand that establish parameters for reporting abuse and maltreatment. Generally, maltreatment involves the quality of care a child receives. Abuse reflects the seriousness of the injury. There needs to be a connection between harm to the child or a substantial likelihood of harm and the actions or inactions of the person responsible for the child.

Deciding if a report is classified as abuse or maltreatment is the job of the SCR when the report is made or by local CPS during the investigation.

The following definitions should be used as guidelines to determine if there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment.


Under New York State law, a child is maltreated when (NYS, 2022):

  • A parent or other PLR for the child fails to provide the minimum degree of care and that failure results in impairment or imminent danger of impairment to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional condition


  • A parent or other PLR for the child cause a non-accidental, serious physical injury to the child

It is important to note that actual impairment or harm is not required (NYS, 2022). Also, it is important to know that poverty, in and of itself, is not considered maltreatment (NYS, 2022).


Under New York State law, a child is abused when (NYS, 2022):

  • A parent or PLR for a child inflicts (or allows someone else to inflict) a non-accidental serious injury which causes either a serious or protracted disfigurement, a protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ, or a substantial risk of death


  • A parent or PLR for a child creates (or allows to be created) a substantial risk of non-accidental physical injury, which would be likely to either result in a serious or protracted disfigurement, a protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ, or lead to death


  • A parent or PLR commits (or allows someone else to commit) a sex crime against a child

Imminent Danger

Imminent danger is a term that measures the distance between a child and the harm created by a parent’s or PLR’s actions or failure to act.

Imminent danger means that the child is placed at immediate risk or substantial risk of harm.

The key factor in assessing imminent danger is to ask yourself, “How direct is the threat to the child?” In other words, the danger to the child must be immediate or nearly immediate.

The standard to be applied is reasonableness. Ask yourself, “Is it reasonable to believe an intervening factor could occur?” If the answer is yes, then there is no imminent danger. If the answer is no, then there is reasonableness to assume that harm could occur and there is imminent danger.

Let’s consider an example that may help to clarify this point:

If a parent swings an object at a child attempting to strike the child on the head but misses, we can say that the danger was imminent. The only additional factor necessary for the child to be injured was for the parent to connect rather than miss; it is reasonable to believe this could have occurred.

Risk Factors of Child Maltreatment & Abuse

Risk factors for child abuse are the specific characteristics that can increase the chances of child maltreatment. For example, children younger than four years of age and those with special needs are risk factors that increase a child’s chance of being maltreated or abused (CDC, 2022b).

The following are the caregiver-related risk factors for child maltreatment and abuse (CDC, 2022b):

  • Use of drugs or alcohol excessively
  • History of mental health conditions
  • Previous exposure to abuse or neglect as children themselves
  • Low socioeconomic status (lower income, lower levels of education)
  • High levels of stress
  • Not the biological child’s parent
  • Caring for children with special needs that they do not understand
  • Self or family members in jail/prison
  • Violence within the family
  • High level of conflict within the household
  • Isolated from extended family, friends, and/or neighbors

Some community-related risk factors can increase the likelihood of child maltreatment and abuse. These environmental risk factors can include areas of high rates of violence and crime, limited educational and economic opportunities, high rates of unemployment, simple access to alcohol and drugs, unstable housing, quick neighbor resident turnover, and those with frequent concerns around food security (CDC, 2022b).

Protective Factors of Child Maltreatment & Abuse

Protective factors are the specific characteristics that have the possibility of lowering the chances of children being neglected or abused (CDC, 2022b).

Caregivers who nurture positive relationships with children, utilize parenting skills, provide emotional support, have a college degree or higher with steady employment, and are capable of meeting a child’s basic needs of food, security, shelter, healthcare, and education are known to be those who are less likely to harm the children in their care (CDC, 2022b). Families who are active and present, enforce rules in the home, monitor their children for their safety, and have a supportive environment of friends and family who can offer guidance and assistance in caring for the children are also less at risk for engaging in child abuse and maltreatment (CDC, 2022b).

Just as communities can have a negative impact on the chances of child abuse and maltreatment, they can also have a protective effect (CDC, 2022b). The following includes the factors of communities that help to decrease the likelihood of child abuse and maltreatment (CDC, 2022b):

  • Access to safe housing
  • Access to high-quality schooling and childcare
  • Engaging after-school activities are available
  • Access to good medical care
  • Access to mental health services
  • Economic/financial help resources
  • Workplaces that prioritize families and their needs

Indicators of Child Maltreatment & Abuse

Indicators of abuse warn the Mandated Reporter to pay more attention to a particular situation. Sometimes, there are no visible indicators present even though the child is being abused.

There are three types of indicators of abuse or maltreatment and abuse (SUNY, 2013):

  1. Physical indicators

  2. Behavioral indicators

  3. Parent or PLR behavioral indicators 

Indicators should not be viewed in isolation. They must be considered in relation to the child’s condition. Indicators should be considered in the overall context of the child’s physical appearance and behavior. Sometimes, a single indicator is self-evident or points to abuse or maltreatment/neglect. Often, several indicators must be pulled together, or clusters of indicators must be used to develop reasonable cause (SUNY, 2013).

Some Mandated Reporters see a child only once or very infrequently, whereas others see them more often. In looking for reasonable cause, you need to consider what you know about the child’s normal behavior. No two children will respond the same way to the same situation.

Physical Indicators

Now, let’s review the physical indicators of child maltreatment and abuse.

What does child maltreatment and abuse physically look like?

Physical indicators include (NYS, 2022):

  • Unexplained bruises:
    • Bruising of the torso, buttocks, and thighs
    • Bruising in various stages of healing
    • Clustered bruises forming regular patterns that might reflect the shape of the article used to inflict the injury
    • Bruising on several different parts of the body
    • Bruises regularly appear after absence, weekend, or vacation
    • Suspicious bruising that does not match the story that was told as to how it was obtained
  • Unexplained fractures:
    • To the nose, skull, or facial structure
    • In various stages of healing
    • Multiple or spiral fractures
  • Unexplained burns:
    • Cigar, and cigarette burns, especially on the soles of the feet, palms, back, and buttocks
    • Immersion burns that are often appearing sock-like, glove-like, or even doughnut-shaped on the buttocks or genitalia
    • Pattern-like burn in the shape of an electric burner or an iron
    • Rope burns on the arms, legs, neck, or torso
  • Unexplained welts
  • Unexplained lacerations:
    • To the mouth, lips, gums, or eyes
    • To external genitalia
    • On the back of the arms, legs, or torso
    • Human bite marks
  • Unattended physical problems, medical, or dental needs
  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Pregnancy, especially in the early adolescent years
  • Sexually transmitted disease (especially in pre-adolescent children)
  • Lags in physical development or growth
  • Frequent injuries that are accidental or unexplained

Image #2:
Handprint Injury on Child’s Face

photo of handprint injury

Source: ", n.d."

Image #3:
Bruising of Torso, Buttocks, and Thighs

photo showing bruising on torso, buttocks and thighs

Source: ", n.d."

Image #4:
Spiral Fracture of the Humerus

photo of spiral fracture x-ray

Source: ", n.d."

Image #5:
Cigarette Burn to Finger

photo of cigarette burn on finger

Source: ", n.d."

Image #6:
Glove-Like Burn of the Hands

photo of glove like burn of the hands

Source: ", n.d."

Image #7:
Sock-Like Burn of the Feet

photo of sock like burn of the feet

Source: ", n.d."

Image #8:
Steam Iron Burn to the Arm

photo of steam iron injury

Source: ", n.d."

Image #9:
Looped Cord Injury

photo of looped cord injury

Source: ", n.d."

As mentioned above, injury or bruising that is most suspicious for child maltreatment or abuse is that in which (NYS, 2022):

  • The location of the injury may be atypical
  • The explanation provided regarding the injury does not match the pattern of injury
  • The bruise or laceration is shaped like a specific object (like a handprint, looped cord, or belt)

Let’s take a look at sites of bruising that would be considered normal for children and those that are more suspicious of possible child abuse.

Image #10:
Normal vs. Suspicious Bruising

graphic showing normal and suspicious bruising areas

Source: ", n.d."

In addition to the location of the bruise, the size and shape of the injury need to be considered.

Children are susceptible to injuries in relation to their developmental stage. If a plausible explanation is offered, consider the age of the child and the location of a suspicious injury when developing your thoughts about “reasonable cause to suspect.”

Accidental injuries usually involve injury to the bony prominences of the body, i.e., shins, elbows, and knees. For example:

  • Toddlers fall while learning to walk.
  • Young children “skin” elbows and knees when learning to ride a bicycle or playing on playground equipment.

Suspicious injuries usually occur in areas not susceptible to accidental, age-appropriate areas, as you have seen in the image above.

Consider the size and shape of the injury, as well as the location of the injury (SUNY, 2013). Consider the relationship of the mechanism of injury (explanation of how the injury occurred) to the child’s developmental stage. For example, we have discussed that toddlers fall when they learn to walk, and young children scrape their knees when learning to ride a bicycle. 

Let’s think about a specific case example:

Think about if the story that was given as an explanation for an injury would produce the present physical indicators. For instance, a toddler falls to the floor while walking, not striking anything when he falls. That toddler has bruises on the back of his legs. One would expect that from a fall while walking, the toddler would have bruises and scrapes on his hands, knees, and shins and not bruises on the back of his legs. This would elicit some suspicion from you.

See the image below for additional information regarding physical indicators of abuse.

Image #11:
Physical Indicators of Abuse

graphic showing physical indicators of abuse

Source: ", n.d."

As mentioned above, take a look at any bruises, welts, or burns carefully. Is it possible the injury is making a specific shape? Just like the image of the iron burn above, many tools can create visible markings that would specify what was used on the child. 

The following image gives you additional ideas of what to look out for.

Image #12:
Clues to the Mechanism of Injury

graphic showing 11 clues to the mechanism of injury

Source: ", n.d."

The following image depicts a child who has been neglected. He is severely underweight and has been diagnosed with failure to thrive. The signs of his malnutrition are evident, even in this picture.

Image #13:
Neglect: Failure to Thrive

photo of child with neglect

Source: ", n.d."

Behavioral Indicators

Now, let’s review the behavioral indicators of child maltreatment and abuse.

The behavioral signs that might be suspicious of child maltreatment and abuse include (NYS, 2022):

  • Child is not acting like they normally do
  • Child is acting oddly shy or attention-seeking
  • Child has a sudden drop in grades or lack of interest in their everyday activities
  • Child is engaging in self-destructive behaviors
  • Child begins isolating from their peers
  • Child is begging for or stealing food
  • Child has consistent fatigue or falls asleep often in class
  • Child begins lingering around the school, reluctant to go home
  • Child is using drugs or alcohol
  • Child has infrequent school attendance
  • Child is demonstrating sudden new sexual behavior or knowledge that is inconsistent with their age, development, circumstances, experiences, or past behaviors

Parent or PLR’s Behavioral Indicators

Parent or PLR’s behavioral indicators of physical abuse may include (SUNY, 2013):

  • Caregiver seems unconcerned about the child
  • Caregiver takes a usual amount of time to obtain medical care for the child
  • Caregiver offers inadequate or inappropriate explanations for the injury
  • Caregiver gives different explanations for the same injury (the story changes)
  • Caregiver misuses drugs or alcohol
  • Caregiver disciplines the child too harshly, considering the child’s age or what she has done wrong
  • Caregiver sees the child as bad or evil
  • Caregiver has a history of abuse as a child
  • Caregiver attempts to conceal the child’s injury
  • Caregiver takes a child to a different hospital or doctor for each injury (so as not to be identified)
  • Caregiver has poor impulse control

Discussion About Indicators

It is important to remember NOT to view indicators in isolation (NYS, 2022). Each indicator must be considered in relation to the child’s current age and circumstances and in the context of their physical condition or behavior (NYS, 2022). You may need to assess if there is an explanation for the presenting concern and whether the explanation is consistent with the observed physical and behavioral indicators (NYS, 2022).

Abuse or maltreatment should never be assumed (NYS, 2022). Carefully consider your prior experiences with this child and whether there is a difference in what you are currently observing (NYS, 2022). It is important to make an objective assessment that is free from any implicit or explicit bias (NYS, 2022).

Sexual Abuse

As briefly mentioned above, there might be physical indicators and behavioral indicators that a child is being sexually abused (NYS, 2022). But this is not always the case. Sexual abuse is the act of sexual activities with dependent, developmentally immature children to which they are unable to provide consent (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Because many individuals who sexually abuse children are family members or friends, it makes disclosure of the abuse very difficult. Often, child victims feel shame and guilt and are afraid to disclose because of what might result.

Sexual abuse or maltreatment occurs when a parent, caregiver, or PLR of a child under the age of 18 commits or allows to be committed any of the following (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018):

  • Physical touching of the child’s genitals, buttocks, breasts, mouth, or other private parts for the sexual gratification of the other individual
  • Engaging in intercourse or sodomy
  • Forcing children to engage in sexual intercourse
  • Exposing children to sexual activity for the sexual gratification of the other individual
  • Utilizing a child in a sexual performance within a video, photograph, play, or dance

The physical indicators that might point to sexual abuse include (SUNY, 2013):

  • Difficulty walking or sitting down
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Painful or itchy genitalia
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Behavioral indicators that a child might be a victim of sexual abuse can include (SUNY, 2013):

  • Child is not willing to change to participate in physical education (PE) class at school
  • Self-injurious behavior, suicide attempts
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Withdrawn
  • Fantasy behavior
  • Regressive, infantile behavior
  • Aggressiveness
  • Delinquency, running away, school truancy
  • Reports of sexual assault by caretakers
  • Exaggerated fear of closeness or physical contact

But what about their caregivers? There are certainly signs that a parent or PLR might demonstrate that would point to possible sexual abuse. These caregiver behavioral signs can include (SUNY, 2013):

  • Protective or jealous of the child
  • Misuses alcohol or drugs
  • Has low self-esteem
  • Encourages the child to engage in things not appropriate for age
  • Is geographically isolated or lacking in social and emotional contacts outside of the family

Educational Neglect

Next, let’s review what would be defined as educational neglect.

Poor school attendance does not automatically equate to a reasonable cause to suspect maltreatment (NYS, 2022). A report of suspected educational neglect should be called in to the SCR as a remedy for excessive absences only as a last resort (NYS, 2022). School personnel should first try working with the child, family, and community agencies to identify needs and the resources available to meet those needs (NYS, 2022).

The following elements are those that must be present to warrant a call to the SCR specifically for educational neglect. These include (NYS, 2022):

  • The child must be excessively absent without a valid reason or excuse
  • The child’s education must be impaired due to the excessive absenteeism (or the child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and has missed the necessary services due to excessive absenteeism)
  • The school officials have made efforts to engage the child and parent or PLR
  • The parent or PLR has been made aware of the excessive absenteeism and impairment by means beyond simply sending a note home or leaving a voicemail message
  • No parent or PLR has taken any action to rectify the situation
  • The child must be of compulsory school age and currently living in New York State

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act

New York State’s Abandoned Infant Protection Act (AIPA) was developed to save the lives of newborns by protecting a person who does not want that infant and chooses to surrender them safely from criminal liability (NYS OCFS, 2016).

The AIPA first went into effect in 2000 and was last amended in 2010 (NYS OCFS, 2016). The most recent adjustments were removing the liability from the person surrendering the infant (NYS OCFS, 2016). Criminal liability is avoided under the following conditions (NYS OCFS, 2016):

  1. The abandoned infant is no more than 30 days of age

  2. The person who abandoned the infant intends that the infant will be safe from physical injury and cared for appropriately

  3. The person who leaves the infant leaves them with an appropriate person or in a suitable, safe location and immediately notifies someone of the infant’s location

  4. The person who surrenders the infant must intend to relinquish their responsibility and their rights of the care and custody of the infant

What would a “suitable” drop-off location be?

New York law does not specifically spell out what a suitable location would be but does consider hospitals, fire stations, and police stations as trusted suitable locations (NYS OCFS, 2016). It is important to note that these locations must be staffed in order to be considered “suitable” (NYS OCFS, 2016).

It is also important to note that this law does not affect your responsibilities as a Mandated Reporter. Any abandonment of an infant is reportable as possible child abuse or maltreatment (NYS OCFS, 2016). You would be fulfilling your duties as a Mandated Reporter if you reported this. A person who does abandon an infant in a manner that complies with the AITA law is not required to provide their name (NYS OCFS, 2016). Even if you do not have the name of the person who abandoned the infant, you must make this report to the SCR (NYS OCFS, 2016).

Virtual Environment

New York State Mandated Reporters may have interactions with children that occur in a virtual setting (NYS, 2022). For example, children may attend school remotely, see doctors utilizing telemedicine, and participate in mental health therapy sessions on virtual platforms (NYS, 2022). It is important to remember that if you are interacting with children in your professional role, your responsibilities as a Mandated Reporter are the same in a virtual environment (NYS, 2022).

When assessing for a child’s safety virtually, please consider all of the following (NYS, 2022; University of South Carolina, 2020):

  • Does the child’s demeanor or behavior seem different when someone else enters the room?
  • Does the child appear anxious or depressed?
  • Are there any indications that a child is trying to communicate something to you without someone else in the room noticing?
  • Has the child made any concerning statements to you, siblings, or their peers?
  • While trying to observe the child’s body, even if you can only see the child’s face, neck, shoulders, and chest, is there anything that seems suspicious? (bruises, welts, burns?)
  • If you hear or observe an altercation between children or adults, even if it does not rise to a level of making a report, is there still an opportunity for a conversation about safety or managing stress that could help?

There are several things that are important to be sure to do when working with children through a virtual setting (NYS, 2022). Always use reliable technology with adequate lighting and sound (NYS, 2022). Make sure that the child is present for at least part of the visit (NYS, 2022). Also be sure to have everyone in the room with the child introduce themselves, even those who enter the room after the visit begins (NYS, 2022).

Make sure to ask if there is enough privacy to discuss sensitive matters in the location in which the child and/or parent is virtually meeting you (NYS, 2022). This may mean asking nonparticipating household members to move to a different room. Confirm with the family their physical location in the event that you need to contact emergency services and will need to know when to send them (NYS, 2022).

Next, take note of the environment (NYS, 2022): Are there any noticeable unsafe conditions? Is there appropriate supervision of the child? Are young children watching even younger siblings?

Watch carefully during the course of your virtual interaction. Verbalize what you think you are seeing and ask if the family agrees with your observations (NYS, 2022). Pay attention to non-verbal cues (NYS, 2022). Make note if the child’s demeanor or behavior is different when someone else enters the room (NYS, 2022). Notice if a child turns off or attempts to turn off the webcam or is even hesitant to use one in the first place (NYS, 2022).

At the close of your interaction, make sure to provide clear channels for the child to reach out to you (NYS, 2022). This can be done by email, phone, chat, text, or online tool (NYS, 2022).

Talking with Children

When dealing with child abuse or maltreatment, you are not to investigate or interrogate. Your responsibility is to assess for reasonable cause to suspect and make the necessary report.

Occasionally, you learn of possible abuse or maltreatment not by what you see but by what a child says to you.

When a child discloses, consider the following suggestions of what to do when talking with children.

It is important to (SUNY, 2013):

  • Find a private place
  • Remain calm
  • Be honest, open, up-front, supportive
  • Be an advocate
  • Listen to the child
  • Report the situation immediately

When talking with a child, stress that the situation and the behaviors are not his or her fault.

What about what not to do? It is important not to overreact. It is natural, at the moment, for us as human beings to potentially act immediately when something like this is disclosed to us. It is important that we listen and remain mindful not to react. We must also not make any quick judgments. We should also never make any promises to the child. And as mentioned above, it is not our duty to interrogate and investigate. Make sure not to do this.

You are NOT legally required to inform parents or other persons legally responsible for a child’s care that you are making a report to the SCR. Do NOT assume a parent will support the child. If you have questions or concerns about whether to inform the parents, contact your local CPS. Informing the parent or other person legally responsible may place a child at further risk of harm.

There are specific guidelines that apply to cases of suspected sexual abuse. Once a child reveals information that makes you suspect sexual abuse, avoid talking in detail with the child about the incident. Often CPS and law enforcement work together to interview a child at the same time. These professionals have been specially trained to interview children. This is a traumatic experience for a child to relive. In your role as a Mandated Reporter, try to minimize how much you talk to a child about an incident involving suspected sexual abuse.

Mandated Reporter Decision Tree

As a New York State professional, you can use the following flow chart to assist you in making the final decision of whether or not the situation that you are a witness to necessitates an SCR report. The following decision tree was developed and shared by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services in 2023:

Image 14:
Mandated Reporter Decision Tree

graphic showing mandated reporter decision tree

Source: NYS OCFS, 2023b

Making the Call to the SCR

Making the Call

If while in your professional role you have developed a reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused or maltreated, you are required to call the SCR immediately at the Mandated Reporter line (NYS, 2022): 1-800-635-1522.

It is important to remember that if you are in an emergency situation, it is not the time to call and report to SCR (NYS, 2022). In an emergency situation, please default to contacting 911.

As a Mandated Reporter, you need to be prepared to articulate your concerns in a clear and concise manner. It is important for you to prepare before you make the call so you will have information readily available when the CPS specialist asks you to provide it.

It is also important to note here not to have the child in the room or put the child on the phone with CPS unless extremely necessary. This can be too distressing for the child. You, as the trusted adult, can speak for the child and seek clarification if needed.

During your phone call, provide your direct contact information as well as an alternate contact number at the beginning of the call in case you become disconnected. Explain to the CPS specialist what your suspicions or concerns are relative to the child who has come to your attention. Explain whether the child has been subjected to harm and why you think this.

Some Mandated Reporters have consistent and close contact with a child or parent because of the nature of their profession. This may give the Mandated Reporter an advantage in being able to assess the overall condition of the child.

Some identifying information is required. The local CPS agency will need some way to be able to locate the child.

A useful tool you can use to organize your information is the LDSS-2221A Form. You will also be completing this form in addition to your phone call.

LDSS 2221A Form

As a Mandated Reporter for child abuse and maltreatment, you are required to fill out and submit a specific form following your phone call report to SCR (NYS, 2022). This form is the LDSS 2221A Form.

The LDSS 2221A Form must be completed and submitted to the local department of social services within 48 hours of your call to SCR (NYS, 2022).

Image 15:
LDSS 2221A Form Page 1

copy of idss-2221a form

Source: New York State Office of Children and Family Services [NYS OCFS], n.d.-a

The image above is the first page of the three pages of the LDSS 2221A form. For your access and ease of use, it is available online at OCFS’ website.

At this link, you are also able to access and download the LDSS 2221A in several additional languages, including Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Russian.

For a direct link to a Microsoft Word version of the form, click here.

Upon completion of this form, send it to your local Department of Social Services. There is a link included on the form to assist with finding where to bring it.

Report Criteria

Let’s discuss what criteria are required for the SCR to accept a report made by Mandated Reporters. The SCR is bound by legal criteria which decide whether they can accept a report (NYS, 2022). For the SCR to accept a report, the following criteria must be met (NYS, 2022):

  • The child must be born and under 18 years of age
  • The alleged perpetrator must be the child’s parent or another person over the age of 18 who is the PLR for the child
  • The conduct described must meet the legal definition of maltreatment or abuse

The SCR is not legally required to accept the report just because you are calling as a Mandated Reporter (NYS, 2022). The staff at SCR will conduct their own interview in order to determine if the information you provide them with during the call rises to the legal level of suspected child abuse or maltreatment (NYS, 2022). In the event that it does not rise to this level, based on the information you provided, the SCR cannot and will not accept the report (NYS, 2022).

As long as you call the SCR and provide all the information you have, you have fulfilled your legal obligation by making the call, even if the SCR declines to accept the report (NYS, 2022).

If the SCR cannot register the report you are trying to make, the reason for their decision should be clearly explained to you, and you should be offered an opportunity to speak to a supervisor.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your interview with the CPS specialist, be sure to ask to speak with a supervisor. Supervisors are on duty at the SCR around the clock and can be very helpful in clarifying issues and reviewing decisions whenever necessary.

What Happens After You Call SCR?

After you complete your call to the SCR, immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility, or agency, or the designated agent of the person in charge, and provide the information reported to the SCR, including the names of other persons identified as having direct knowledge or the alleged abuse or maltreatment and other Mandated Reporters identified as having reasonable cause to suspect.

Once notified that a report has been made to the SCR, the person in charge or designated agent becomes responsible for all subsequent administration concerning the report, including preparation and submission of the form LDSS-2221A.

As suggested earlier, if time permits, it may be helpful to fill out the form before placing your call to the SCR. This enables you to organize whatever demographic and identifying information you might have, as well as your allegations and concerns.

REMEMBER: The safety of the child must come before the completion of the form.

Once the SCR has officially accepted a report, the SCR forwards it to the local Department of Social Services for further investigation (NYS, 2022). The SCR then follows up with the local Department of Social Services that the report was sent to in order to receive a confirmation that the report has been received (NYS, 2022). Once the local Department of Social Services has the report, they must begin their investigation within 24 hours of receiving the report (NYS, 2022).

During their investigation, the CPS caseworker assigned to the case must comply with numerous regulations and policies to ensure that they conduct a thorough investigation and safety assessment (NYS, 2022). CPS is required to contact the parent or PLR and the children involved (NYS, 2022). CPS will also contact the source of the report and may ask for additional information or clarification (NYS, 2022). The assigned CPS caseworker might also request copies of reports or records from you which you are required by law to provide (NYS, 2022).

Within 60 days of filing the report, the CPS agency must determine whether the cited allegations are substantiated (meaning that there is evidence that the allegations that were made were true) or unsubstantiated (meaning that the was not enough evidence that the allegations made were true) (NYS, 2022). CPS caseworkers are also obligated to offer the parents or PLR services for them, or the children or children involved, which may be helpful (NYS, 2022).

Please view the following image to get an idea of what the CPS system process is from the initial report phone call.

Image #18:
CPS System Flowchart

cps system flowchart

Source: Adapted from New York State Office of Children and Family Services

Positive CPS Intervention

CPS intervention in a family’s life can be positive. It can provide stability and a structure for change. The CPS system works to support families through crisis and stress in their lives. Working with a family to improve their lives and break the cycle of abuse and maltreatment is the purpose of the intervention.

Instead of thinking of your report to the SCR as punitive, remember that sometimes intervention can provide exactly the kind of help a family needs to prevent the abuse or maltreatment from causing irreversible harm.

Whether or not you believe the child's parent(s) or legally responsible adult(s) will be open to intervention, you are still obligated to make the report to the SCR. In some cases, a report is the “wake-up call” a parent needs or a means of gaining assistance in areas of their lives that have become unmanageable.

The most common outcome of a CPS investigation is that the caseworker will spend time and work with the family to help them obtain necessary services or aid to alleviate problems and promote safety (NYS, 2022). It is important to keep in mind that CPS intervention is not required in order for parents, PLRs, children, or families to obtain and utilize services (NYS, 2022). We are all able to support a family without having to report a family (NYS, 2022).

Child Protective Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are some of the questions and answers found in the frequently asked questions section of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services CPS page (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b).

Where can I find the laws pertaining to Child Protective Services and Social Services?

There are two bodies of law in New York State that deal with child abuse and maltreatment, specifically in a familial context (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b):

  • Social Services Law (SSL), Title Six Article Six, sections 411-428
  • Family Court Act (FCA), Article 10 section 1012

It is important to also know that some acts of child abuse and maltreatment are also crimes. For more information on the crimes associated with child abuse and maltreatment, you should contact your local police or district attorney's office or refer to the Penal Law (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b).

What happens after I make a report?

The Child Protective Service (CPS) unit of the local department of social services is required to begin an investigation of each report within 24 hours (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b). CPS may take a child into protective custody if it is essential for the protection from further abuse or maltreatment. Based upon an assessment of the circumstances, CPS may offer the family appropriate services. The CPS caseworker has the responsibility to petition the Family Court to mandate services when they are necessary for the care and protection of a child. CPS then has 60 days after receiving the report to determine whether the report is "indicated" or "unfounded” (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b).

Who decides what information pertaining to the report is "essential for a full investigation" and, therefore, must be provided to CPS: the Mandated Reporter or CPS?

In the first instance, the Mandated Reporter to whom the request is directed makes the

determination of what information is essential. If CPS believes that the Mandated Reporter has additional essential information pertaining to the report, CPS should ask the Mandated Reporter for the additional records and attempt to come to agreement regarding any additional records. If CPS and the Mandated Reporter cannot come to agreement and CPS disagrees with the Mandated Reporter's rationale for why the records are not relevant to the report, CPS may seek a court order pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) Article 31 and SSL §415 directing the Mandated Reporter to produce the essential information (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b).

What can I do if someone has filed a false child abuse or maltreatment report against me with the Statewide Central Register?

The New York State OCFS takes any false report extremely seriously, as the taking of the false report and the following investigation are a misuse of valuable time and resources. According to section 240.50 of the New York State Penal Law, falsely reporting a case is a Class A misdemeanor (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b). If you are a victim of a false report, contact your local police department to discuss your options.

At what age is it okay to leave children home alone in New York State?

There is no straightforward answer to this question, and there is no state-mandated law. All children develop at their own rate and have their own unique special needs and abilities. Some children are responsible enough to be left alone at 12 or 13, whereas some are not mature enough at that age to be left alone, much less watching another child. 

Questions that can be considered prior to leaving a child alone or allowing a child to babysit include (NYS OCFS, n.d.-b):

  1. How mature is the child?

  2. How comfortable is the child with being alone?

  3. What has the child done to demonstrate responsibility?

  4. Does the child know how to contact emergency help if needed?

  5. Is the child capable of preparing food for themselves?

  6. Are there dangerous hazards in the child’s environment (knives, ovens)?

  7. How long will the child be left alone?

  8. Do they have a means of contacting you?

Glossary of Terms

The following important child abuse-related terms are found within the 2023 New York State Child Protective Services Manual (NYS OCFS, 2023a). For the complete list of definitions, please visit here.

Abused Child: A child under the age of 18 whose parent or other person legally responsible for his/her care inflicts upon the child serious physical injury, creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury, or commits a sex offense against the child (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Indicated Report: Upon conclusion of the investigation, the local investigative agency determined there was some credible evidence to support the allegations in the report (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Maltreated Child: A child under the age of 18 whose parent(s) or other person legally responsible for the care of a child harms a child or places a child in imminent danger of harm by failing to exercise the minimum degree of care in providing the child with any of the following when financially able to do so (NYS OCFS, 2023a):

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Education
  • Medical care

Maltreatment can also result from abandonment of a child or from not providing adequate supervision for the child. Furthermore, a child may be maltreated if a parent engages in excessive use of drugs or alcohol such that it interferes with their ability to adequately supervise the child (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Neglected Child: A child under the age of 18 whose mental, emotional, or physical health has been impaired or in imminent danger of becoming impaired because of failure of the minimum degree of care requirement of their parent or person legally responsible (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Person Legally Responsible: This individual includes the child's custodian, guardian, and any other person responsible for the child's care at the relevant time. A custodian may include any person continually or at regular intervals found in the same household as the child when the conduct of such person causes or contributes to the abuse or neglect of the child (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Preliminary Assessment of Safety: This is when an initial evaluation of the safety factors decides if the child or children named within the report may be in imminent danger or serious harm. If the child or children is/are assessed to not be safe, immediate action is taken to protect the child or children (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Protective Custody: The action of law enforcement or a designated employee of the state taking and holding a child or children from a place, home, or circumstance in the case where the child or children is believed to be in imminent danger (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Reasonable Cause to Suspect: A logical basis for your concern (NYS OCFS, 2023a). It does not mean you have to be certain or have proof.

Subject of a Report: Any parent of, guardian of, custodian of, or other person eighteen years of age or older legally responsible for a child reported to the central register of child abuse and maltreatment who is allegedly responsible for causing injury, abuse, or maltreatment to such child (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Unfounded Report: Upon conclusion of the investigation, the local investigative agency determined there was no credible evidence to support the allegations in the report (NYS OCFS, 2023a).

Case Study Learning Examples

Consider these questions when evaluating the following case studies (State University of New York [SUNY], 2013):

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment/neglect?

  3. If so, who is responsible for abuse or maltreatment/neglect?

  4. What are your next steps?

The correct answers follow the case studies and will allow you to reflect on your answer choices.

Use these same questions when confronted with an incident to help decide if there is reasonable cause to suspect.

Your “gut” feeling serves as a warning and warrants further examination of the situation.

Case Study 1

Emma, a 13-year-old female, has come into the emergency room with a rash in her vaginal area. She shares with you that she has been engaging in sexual intercourse with her mother’s 42-year-old boyfriend for the past four months. Emma’s mom’s boyfriend has resided in the house with the child and her mother for the past three years and is responsible for her care when the mother is working as a bartender.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 2

Tommy, a five-year-old male, came into his pediatrician’s office for a sports physical so he can play soccer at school. You notice that he has a bruise on the left side of his face with scrapes along his left arm and hand. Tommy claimed he fell off the monkey bars at school. He lives with his mother, who is a single parent. Tommy’s mother says that he is a very active child and, at times, can misbehave at school.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 3

Pamela, a 32-year-old female, is admitted to the obstetric unit at your hospital. She delivers her child, Sarah. After 36 hours of birth, the nurse notices that Sarah has tremors and increased muscle tone. Sarah is soon diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) by the neonatologist, as she is showing signs of drug withdrawal from when Pamela was pregnant with her. When talking to Pamela, you learned she has not prepared at all for her baby to come home.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 4

Seven-year-old Nick comes to the emergency room with an injured arm. His mother says he fell off the trampoline when he was jumping around and playing with his friend. An X-ray is ordered to assess for any breaks. When Nick’s arm is X-rayed, a spiral fracture of his humerus is identified.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 5

Three-year-old Emily comes into the pediatric primary care clinic for her yearly well-child examination. You notice ligature marks and bruising around both of her wrists. You ask Mom what these are from. Mom indicates that she knows her child is good but is sometimes possessed by evil spirits that make her do bad things. She tells you that in her culture, it is common practice to tie the child to their bed and restrict food in order to eliminate the evil spirit.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 6

Four-month-old Sabrina is brought into the emergency room for being unresponsive. Mom accompanies Sabrina. Mom indicates that Sabrina was fine until they got back home from running errands. Mom says that her boyfriend, Rick, was watching her while she took a shower. She said that she heard Sabrina crying. When the crying had been continuous for ten minutes and then abruptly stopped, she heard Rick yell that he was going to pick up some cigarettes from the gas station and then slam the door. Mom finished getting dressed and went back to Sabrina’s room to check on her. Mom initially thought she was asleep in her crib, but on closer examination, she was not breathing. Mom notes that Rick does have a temper and that he is frustrated easily with Sabrina.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 7

Benjamin is a 17-year-old who attends the school you teach at. Benjamin is in your English class but has not come to school in a few weeks. You reach out to his mother, who tells you he is absolutely refusing to go to school, and there is nothing she can do to get him to go. She said that he has a job at the local convenience store and spends all of his time there.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study 8

You are discussing with the mother of a two-year-old about how much stress she is currently dealing with. She admits that she leaves her son, Elijah, at home alone at least once a week so that she can run to the corner store to buy groceries. She says that he’s just fine and that she tells her neighbors that she’ll be back in 15 to 20 minutes and just to listen out for him.

  1. What indicators are present?

  2. Is there a reasonable cost to suspect abuse or maltreatment?

  3. Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment?

  4. What are your next steps?

Case Study Answers

Case Study 1

What indicators are present? Sexual abuse and verbal disclosure

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? Yes 

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? The 42-year-old boyfriend is an adult living in the home, acting as a caregiver when the mother is away at work.

What are your next steps? Call SCR.

Case Study 2

What indicators are present? Bruises, scrapes

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? No, the story is consistent with a playground injury. Injuries sustained in an accidental fall would be along one side of the child’s body.

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? No

What are your next steps? Prioritize the treatment of the child’s injury. You do not need to report this to SCR.

Case Study 3

What indicators are present? Neonatal drug withdrawal and no plan for when the baby comes home from the hospital

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? Yes

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? Mother

What are your next steps? Call SCR.

Case Study 4

What indicators are present? Spiral fracture, the explanation for the injury is not plausible.

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? Yes

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? Mother

What are your next steps? Call SCR.

Case Study 5

What indicators are present? Ligature marks around the risks, mom’s admission that she ties the child up to her bed and denies her food

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? Yes

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? Mother

What are your next steps? Although this appears to be a cultural practice, it is illegal to use these means to deal with the misbehavior of a child. Call SCR.

Case Study 6

What indicators are present? Mom’s boyfriend was taking care of the baby, Sabrina was fine one minute and then not breathing the next, reported to the ER for unconsciousness, boyfriend has a temper, boyfriend left suspiciously for cigarettes.

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? Yes

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? Mother’s boyfriend, Rick

What are your next steps? This case is suspicious of shaken baby syndrome and should be worked up as such in the ER. Call SCR.

Case Study 7

What indicators are present? Benjamin is not going to school anymore.

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? No, it seems Mom has tried. Additional attention can be given specifically to Benjamin to confirm Mom’s story.

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? No

What are your next steps? According to the compulsory attendance law in New York, children between the ages of six and sixteen are required to attend school regularly. It also says that children over the age of 17 have the right to determine whether or not they go to school (New York State Education [NYSED], 2022). You do not need to report.

Case Study 8

What indicators are present? Mom is under a lot of stress; she also admits to leaving two-year-old Elijah home alone while she runs to the store.

Is there reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment? Yes

Is there a parent or other person responsible for the suspected abuse or maltreatment? Mother

What are your next steps? This is considered inadequate supervision. Mom should never do this. Someone must be physically present with Elijah while she is out in case of an emergency. Call SCR to report.


Child abuse and maltreatment are, unfortunately, quite common. With an improved understanding of what to look out for, what situations warrant additional resources or referrals, and the New York State reporting process, Mandated Reporters have the unique position, due to their positions in their work roles, to file a report when they suspect a child or children is being mistreated or abused. We all have the ability to identify a child in need and speak up on their behalf to protect them!

New York State Resources

  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services
    • Capital View Office Park
    • 52 Washington Street, Rensselaer · New York 12144-2834
    • Phone: (518) 473-7793
    • Email:
    • Website
  • Prevent Child Abuse New York Helpline
    • 1 Steuben Place ·  Albany, NY 12107
    • English and Spanish
    • Phone: (800) 342-7472 — 24 hrs.
    • Email:
    • Website
  • New York State Domestic Violence Hotline
    • Phone: 1 (800) 799-7233
    • Text “START” to 88788
    • Chat live on their website
    • Website

New York State is divided into 58 local social services districts. The five boroughs of New York City comprise one district. Outside of New York City, each district corresponds to one of the fifty-seven counties that make up the remainder of the state.

County Departments of Social Services (DSS) provide or administer the full range of publicly funded social services and cash assistance programs. Families whose income meets state guidelines and who meet other criteria may be able to receive a subsidy to offset some of their childcare costs.

Listed below is an alphabetical list of the 58 DSS Offices available throughout New York State.

  • Albany County DSS
    • 162 Washington Avenue · Albany, NY 12210
    • (518) 447-7300
    • Website
  • Allegany County DSS
    • County Office Building ·7 Court St. · Belmont, NY 14813-1077
    • (585) 268-9622
    • Website
  • Broome County DSS
    • 36-42 Main Street · Binghamton, NY 13905-3199
    • (607) 778-8850
    • Website
  • Cattaraugus County DSS
    • One Leo Moss Drive · Suite 6010 · Olean, NY 14760-1158
    • (716) 373-8065
    • Website
  • Cayuga County DSS
    • County Office Building · 160 Genesee Street · 2nd Floor · Auburn, NY 13021-3433
    • (315) 253-1011
    • Website
  • Chautauqua County DSS
    • Hall R. Clothier Building · Mayville, NY 14757
    • (716) 661-8200
    • Website
  • Chemung County DSS
    • Human Resource Center · 425 Pennsylvania Avenue · Elmira, NY 14902
    • (607) 737-5302
    • Website
  • Chenango County DSS
    • 5 Court Street · Norwich, NY 13815
    • (607) 337-1500
    • Website
  • Clinton County DSS
    • 13 Durkee Street · Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2911
    • (518) 565-3300
    • Website
  • Columbia County DSS
    • 25 Railroad Avenue · P.O. Box 458 · Hudson, NY 12534
    • (518) 828-9411
    • Website
  • Cortland County DSS
    • County Office Building· 60 Central Avenue · Cortland, NY 13045-5590
    • (607) 753-5248
    • Website
  • Delaware County DSS
    • 111 Main Street · P.O. Box 469 · Delhi, NY 13753-1265
    • (607) 832-5300
    • Website
  • Dutchess County DSS
    • 60 Market Street · Poughkeepsie, NY 12601-3299
    • (845) 486-3000
    • Website
  • Erie County DSS
    • Rath County Office Building · 95 Franklin Street, 8th Floor · Buffalo, NY 14202-3959
    • (716) 858-8000
    • Website
  • Essex County DSS
    • 7551 Court St.· PO Box 217 · Elizabethtown, NY 12932
    • (518) 873-3441
    • Website
  • Franklin County DSS
    • 355 West Main Street · Suite 331 · Malone, NY 12953
    • (518) 481-1500
    • Website
  • Fulton County DSS
    • 4 Daisy Lane · P.O. Box 549 · Johnstown, NY 12095
    • (518) 736-5600
    • Website
  • Genesee County DSS
    • 5130 East Main St.· Suite #3 · Batavia, NY 14020-3497
    • (585) 344-2580
    • Website
  • Greene County DSS
    • 411 Main Street · P.O. Box 528 · Catskill, NY 12414-1716
    • (518) 943-3200
    • Website
  • Hamilton County DSS
    • White Birch Lane · P.O. Box 725 · Indian Lake, NY 12842-0725
    • (518) 648-6131
    • Website
  • Herkimer County DSS
    • 301 North Washington Street ·Suite 2110 · Herkimer, NY 13350
    • (315) 867-1291
    • Website
  • Jefferson County DSS
    • Human Services Building · 250 Arsenal Street · Watertown, NY 13601
    • (315) 785-3000
    • Website
  • Lewis County DSS
    • 5274 Outer Stowe Street · P.O. Box 193 · Lowville, NY 13367
    • (315) 376-5400
    • Website
  • Livingston County DSS
    • 1 Murray Hill Drive · Mt. Morris, NY 14510-1699
    • (585) 243-7300
    • Website
  • Madison County DSS
    • 133 North Court St. · P.O. Box 637 · Wampsville, NY 13163
    • (315) 366-2211
    • Website
  • Monroe County DSS
    • 111 Westfall Road - Room 660 · Rochester, NY 14620-4686
    • (585) 274-6000
    • Website
  • Montgomery County DSS
    • County Office Building · P.O. Box 745 · Fonda, NY 12068-0745
    • (518) 853-4646
    • Website
  • Nassau County DSS
    • 60 Charles Lindbergh Blvd · Uniondale, NY 11553-3656
    • (516) 227-8519
    • Website
  • NYC Administration for Children's Services
    • 150 William St. 18th Fl. · New York, NY 10038
    • (212) 341-0900
    • Website
  • Manhattan Field Office
    • 150 William Street - 3rd Floor ·New York, NY 10038
  • Brooklyn Field Office
    • 1274 Bedford Avenue · Brooklyn, NY 11216
  • Queens Field Office
    • 165-15 Archer Avenue- 3rd Floor · Jamaica, NY 11433
  • Staten Island Field Office
    • 350 St. Mark's Place- 5th Floor · Staten Island, NY 10301
  • Bronx Field Office
    • 2501 Grand Concourse- 4th Floor · Bronx, NY 10451
  • Niagara County DSS
    • 175 Hawley Street, 1st floor · Lockport, NY 14095-0461
    • (716) 439-7000
    • Website
  • Oneida County DSS
    • County Office Building · 800 Park Avenue · Utica, NY 13501-2981
    • (315) 798-5733
    • Website
  • Onondaga County DSS
    • Onondaga Co. Civic Center · 421 Montgomery Street · Syracuse, NY 13202-2923
    • (315) 435-2985
    • Website
  • Ontario County DSS
    • 3010 County Complex Drive · Canandaigua, NY 14424-1296
    • (585) 396-4060
    • Website
  • ​​​​​​​Orange County DSS
    • 255 Main Street · Goshen, NY 10924-0678
    • (845) 291-4000
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Orleans County DSS
    • 14016 Route 31 West · Albion, NY 14411-9365
    • (585) 589-3170
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Oswego County DSS
    • 100 Spring Street · Mexico, NY 13114
    • (315) 963-5000
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Otsego County DSS
    • County Office Building · 197 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326-1196
    • (607) 547-4355
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Putnam County DSS
    • 110 Old Route Six Center · Building #2 · Carmel, NY 10512-2110
    • (845) 808-1500
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Rensselaer County DSS
    • 127 Bloomingrove Drive · Troy, NY 12180-8403
    • (518) 283-2000
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Rockland County DSS
    • Building L · 50 Sanatorium Road · Pomona, NY 10970
    • (845) 364-3100
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Human Services Division
    • 71 Margaret Terrance Memorial Way · Akwesasne, NY 13655 · (518) 358-2209
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Saratoga County DSS
    • 152 West High Street · Ballston Spa, NY 12020
    • (518) 884-4140
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Schenectady County DSS
    • 797 Broadway · Schenectady, NY 12305-2704
    • (518) 388-4470
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Schoharie County DSS
    • County Office Building · P.O. Box 687 · Schoharie, NY 12157
    • (518) 295-8334
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Schuyler County DSS
    • 323 Owego St. Unit 3 · Montour Falls, NY 14891
    • (607) 535-8303
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Seneca County DSS
    • 1 DiPronio Drive · P.O. Box 690 · Waterloo, NY 13165-0690
    • · (315) 539-4251
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Steuben County DSS
    • 3 East Pulteney Square · Bath, NY 14810
    • (607) 776-7611
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​St. Lawrence County DSS
    • Harold B. Smith County Office Building · 6 Judson Street · Canton, NY 13617-1197
    • (315) 379-2111
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Suffolk County DSS
    • 3085 Veterans Memorial Hwy · Ronkonkoma, NY 11788-8900
    • (631) 854-9930
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Sullivan County DSS
    • 16 Community Lane · P.O. Box 231 · Liberty, NY 12754
    • (845) 292-0100
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Tioga County DSS
    • P.O. Box 240 · Owego, NY 13827
    • (607) 687-8300
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • Tompkins County DSS
    • 320 W Martin Luther King/State Street· Ithaca, NY. 14850
    • (607) 274-5680
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Ulster County DSS
    • 1061 Development Court · Kingston, NY 12401-1959
    • (845) 334-5000
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Warren County DSS
    • Warren Co. Municipal Center · 1340 State Route 9 · Lake George, NY 12845-9803
    • (518) 761-6310
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Washington County DSS
    • Municipal Building · 383 Broadway · Fort Edward, NY 12828
    • (518) 746-2300
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Wayne County DSS
    • 77 Water Street · P.O. Box 10 · Lyons, NY 14489-0010
    • (315) 946-4881
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Westchester County DSS
    • County Office Building #2 · 148 Martine Avenue · White Plains, NY 10601-5113
    • (914) 995-2000
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Wyoming County DSS
    • 466 North Main Street · Warsaw, NY 14569-1080 · (716) 786-8900
    • Website​​​​​​​
  • ​​​​​​​Yates County DSS
    • County Office Building · 417 Liberty Street, Suite 2122 · Penn Yan, NY 14527
    • Website
  • ​​​​​​​
    • ​​​​​​​

Additional Resources

Administration for Children & Families Website

  • The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, childcare, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families.

ACF – Children’s Bureau ExpressWebsite

  • The Children's Bureau Express is designed for professionals concerned with child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption. The Children's Bureau Express is supported by the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and published by the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse.

Annie E. Casey FoundationWebsite

  • Since 1948, the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) has worked to build better futures for disadvantaged children and their families in the United States. The primary mission of the Foundation is to foster public policies, human service reforms, and community support that more effectively meet the needs of today's vulnerable children and families.

Child Abuse Reporting Website

  • Monroe County Health and Human Services maintains a website dedicated to learning about preventing and reporting child abuse.

Child Welfare League of America Website 

  • The Child Welfare League of America is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. It is committed to engaging people everywhere in promoting the well-being of children, youth, and their families, and protecting every child from harm.

National Children's AllianceWebsite

  • The National Children's Alliance is a group of 53 national organizations with an interest in the well-being of children and youth.

National Data Archive on Child Abuse & NeglectWebsite

  • A resource since 1988, NDACAN promotes scholarly exchange among researchers in the child maltreatment field. NDACAN acquires microdata from leading researchers and national data collection efforts and makes these datasets available to the research community for secondary analysis.

New York State Office for Children and Family ServicesWebsite

  • A variety of resource information related to child abuse and maltreatment/neglect specific to New York State.

U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesWebsite 

  • A wide variety of resources is available on the home page of this federal agency.


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