Reporting Child Abuse
Everyone is encouraged to
call 412-473-2000 or 1-800-932-0313* if you are concerned about the well-being of a person, 18 years of age or younger. These numbers answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You will be asked for information such as:
- The name of the child
- The child’s home address
- The age of the child
- The name of the child’s primary caregiver
- The concerns you have that prompted you to make the call
You can make the call anonymously and do not have to give your name or contact information.
*The Pennsylvania ChildLine and Abuse Registry is known as “ChildLine.” ChildLine accepts and assigns reports of child and student abuse to county children and youth agencies for investigation. ChildLine may also provide information and referral services for families and children.
Professionals Who Interact with Children
Some people must report their concerns about a child’s well-being and are called mandated reporters. Find out if you are a mandated reporter and how to get training. Learn more
What is child abuse?
Child Abuse (from Child Protective Services Law 23 PA CS§6303; 55 PA Code §3490.4)
The term "child abuse" shall mean any of the following:
- Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator* which causes non-accidental serious physical injury to a child under 18 years of age.
- An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes non-accidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child less than 18 years of age.
- Any recent act, failure to act or series of such acts or failures to act by a perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
- Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or the failure to provide essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a child's life or development or impairs the child's functioning.
What happens when I call?
Initial Response to a Call to Report Alleged Abuse
Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) provides telephone access to receive reports of alleged child abuse and neglect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In accordance with Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), the CYF Intake/Call Screening Unit will accept reports (calls, walk-in, etc.) 24 hours a day from any person. Reports can come from many sources including: mandated reporters; the general public; the child; anonymous callers; a physician; a hospital or law enforcement organization that has taken protective custody of a child; and ChildLine.
Callers may receive information and referrals to other agencies and jurisdictions, law enforcement officials, local social services, and/or may be assigned to a CYF Caseworker for further Child Protective Service (CPS) investigation and/or General Protective Service (GPS) assessment. If a report meets legally-defined criteria for child or student abuse, and the call did not originate from ChildLine, CYF will open the investigation and contact ChildLine to register the report.
NOTE: CYF does not log telephone numbers from anonymous callers and will accept calls from call-blocked telephone numbers (as when people dial *67, etc.)
When CYF receives a report, the call screener:
- Gathers information and documents all reports that come to the attention of the agency;
- Inquires about all children living in the household and related children (regardless of residence); and
- Makes recommendations to the call screening supervisor about whether and when to assign cases to casework staff.
The call screening supervisor:
- Reviews incoming reports and any available DHS and CYF record(s);
- Rates initial level of risk;
- Determines whether a field screening is warranted; and
- Screens out the report; or
- Assigns a response time, unit, and caseworker as necessary.
Screening out calls
All referrals, reports and requests for service will result in an assessment from CYF unless the call screener, in consultation with the call screening supervisor, clearly establishes that:
- CYF does not have legal jurisdiction in the matter;
- There are no reasons for CYF to conduct a field assessment;
- There are no service needs appropriate for CYF to address; or
- Another agency or provider can meet the family’s needs and call screeners have provided resource information to the caller.
When family members reside in Allegheny County and a report raises significant concerns for the child’s immediate safety, or if a child/ren is believed to be at imminent risk of harm, a DHS CYF caseworker is dispatched within two hours.
What happens if my report raises significant concerns?
A field screening may be assigned as an extension of call screening to conduct a face-to-face assessment of the safety of the children to determine whether there is need for Child Protective Service (CPS) Investigation and/or General Protective Service (GPS) Assessment and services.
CYF Intake Assignments
The call screening supervisor may assign a caseworker to a family as either a Child Protective Service (CPS) or General Protective Service (GPS) ‘referral’ with or without a field screening.
- A Child Protective Service (CPS) Investigation is assigned to a CPS caseworker when ChildLine has assigned a registry number because the allegations appear to meet the Child Protective Service Law (CPSL) definition of child or student abuse; OR
- A General Protective Service (GPS) Assessment is assigned to caseworkers when there is no ChildLine registry number (though all CPS Investigations also require GPS assessments).