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Community Partners of Dallas
1215 Skiles Street
Dallas, Texas 75204
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Phone: (214) 624-7557
Fax: (214) 624-7667


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Frequently Asked Questions

Please select from the following frequently asked questions.

How do I report suspected child abuse?
What type of situation should be reported?
What are some indicators of sexual abuse?
What are some indicators of physical abuse?
What are some indicators of neglect?
What are some indicators of emotional abuse?


Making the Report

Step One Gather Information

The more information provided, the more effective CPS can be when investigating the case, so provide as much information as you possibly can.

  • Locating information
    • Address-Home and where child can best be locate (school, sitter, etc.)
    • Phone numbers home and work
  • Identifying information
    • Child's age or birthdate
    • Child's current condition, including injuries
    • Any emotional, behavioral or physical problems the child may have
    • Same information about child's sibling

Step Two Make the Report

  • Call Statewide Intake, 1-800-252-5400
    • This number is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • It is not long distance
    • It is located in Austin, where a group of caseworkers answer and take all the child abuse reports for the state. BE PATIENT!
  • Be specific
    • Tell exactly what happened and when
    • Child's specific condition and sibling's, if known, and
    • Identify the person responsible for abuse/neglect, if known
  • DO NOT tell the child's parent or person responsible that you are reporting
    • This could endanger the child
  • CPS considers the following factors when determining substantial risk of harm:
    • Extent and severity of the injury
    • Location of the injury on the child's body
    • The child's age (the younger the child, the higher the risk)
    • Frequency and duration of the same behavior or similar incidents
    • Previous history of abuse or neglect
    • How the injury occurred or was inflicted

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Situations Which Are Child Abuse And Dictate a Report to the Authorities

Severe Neglect

  • Abandonment
  • Long periods with no supervision
  • Children from infancy to 8 years left unattended
  • Long delay in obtaining medical help for serious injury
  • Maternal deprivation

Head Injury

  • Evidence of Shaken Infant Syndrome
  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Closed head injury
  • Retinal hemorrhages

Deliberate Burn Injuries

  • Multiple cigarette burns in varying stages of healing
  • Glove and sock pattern immersion burns
  • Patterned burns
  • Diaper area burns and doughnut-shaped burns
  • Burns to the back of the hand
  • Bilateral burns or injuries to hand

Skeletal Injuries

  • Posterior rib fractures
  • Sternal fractures
  • Scapular fractures
  • Metaphyseal avulsion fracture ("bucket handle/corner fracture")
  • Two or more fractures in different stages of healing
  • Multiple skull fractures, complex skull fracture
  • Long bone fracture in a non-ambulating child

Bruises

  • Bilateral black eyes without broken nose or "goose egg" on forehead
  • Skin bruises and lacerations in recognizable shapes, such as looped cord, whip, belt, fist, fingers, buckle, rope or teeth
  • Circumferential injuries (burns, bruises, lacerations or scars) of the wrists, arms, ankles, legs and neck
  • Multiple bruises in inaccessible/covered places, in different stages of healing
  • An injury resulting from discipline

Trauma

  • Blunt trauma to abdomen or chest with inappropriate or no history
  • Intrauterine abuse
  • Infant born to drug using/drug dependent mother

Sexual Abuse

  • Category IV of sexual molestation
  • Credible disclosure of abuse by child

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Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any sexual contact, nonphysical sexual interaction, or sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. Sexual abuse may consist of numerous acts over a long period of time or a single incident. Children from infants to adolescents can be victimized. Sexual abuse includes incest, rape, sodomy, fondling, exposing oneself, asking a child to engage in sexual acts, oral copulation, any penetration of the genital or anal opening, suggestive talk,exposing a child to sex or pornography, or exploiting a child through pornography. Often, children keep sexual abuse a secret, as they fear the perpetrator, they are ashamed or feel guilty, or they are afraid of being punished. Sexual abuse perpetrators keep children from disclosing through intimidation, threats and rewards. In most cases, the offender is a member of the child's family or household or at least knows the victim.

Possible Family Indicators

  • Parental history of sexual or other abuse
  • Adult has poor self-esteem
  • No social support, isolated
  • Lack of warm, adult sexual relationship
  • Lack of empathy for child
  • Adult's needs put above child's
  • Poor marital relationship
  • Father is dominant and controlling, jealous
  • Mother is passive and dependent
  • Role reversal between mother and child
  • Absent parent
  • Substance abuse
  • Complaints about a "seductive" child
  • Other types of violence in the home
  • Rigid rules and interaction in the home
  • Inappropriate sleeping arrangements
  • Poor supervision
  • Poor communication in family
  • Neglect of children's needs
  • Family member has prior sexual offense
  • Adults have little impulse control
  • Large number of surrogate parents in and out of the home

Possible Child Indicators
In most instances there is little physical evidence of sexual abuse. In many cases, children have had every aspect of their lives controlled, including their bodies. Thus, their behavior reflects their inability to take control of their own lives.

Behavioral

  • Overly compliant or defiant behavior
  • Reluctant to change clothes in front of others
  • Withdrawn
  • Acts out or plays in a highly sexualized manner
  • Has sexual knowledge beyond what is normal for age
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Extraordinary fear of males
  • Pseudo-mature
  • Delinquent behavior
  • Seductive behavior
  • Regressive or infantile behavior (thumb sucking, bed wetting)
  • Not willing to participate in school activities
  • Difficulty in school and poor attendance
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depressed
  • Fearful or anxious
  • Complaints of headache, chest pain, etc.
  • Substance abuse
  • Attempts or contemplates suicide
  • Exhibits eating disorders
  • Is self mutilating
  • Inability to trust adults
  • Problems with authority and rules

Physical

  • Has pain or itching in genital or anal area
  • Has bruises or bleeding in genital or anal area
  • Has swollen or redness in genital or anal area
  • Has venereal disease
  • Is pregnant
  • Has torn, bloody, and/or stained underclothing
  • Experiences pain when urinating
  • Has vaginal or penile discharge, wets the bed, has difficulty walking or sitting

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Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the non-accidental infliction of physical injury to a child. A child may be abused as a result of over discipline or to show dislike for a child. Physical abuse may involve the use of whips, paddles, switches and extension cords, as well as battering and kicking. Injuries to a child may consist of bruises, scars, red marks, burns, bites, welts, strangulation, internal injuries, broken bones or death. Children who are most at risk for physical abuse are premature infants, second born twins, difficult children (fussy, attention deficit, and hyperactivity), developmentally delayed or disabled children, children who are born of a difficult pregnancy, etc.

Many parents become frustrated with their children's behavior and have the potential to lash out at their children when angry and stressed. However, most parents are able to control these impulses and are able to find other ways to cope with stress or deal with their children's behavior. Discipline is a method of teaching or correcting a child's behavior. Abuse occurs when a parent punishes a child in a manner that vents their anger or expresses negative thoughts about the child, that results in harm.

Possible Family Indicators of Physical Abuse

  • Parental history of abuse or neglect
  • Crises or multiple stressors in family
  • No social support, family isolated
  • Poor marital or adult relationship
  • Distrust of others
  • Explanation for child's injury is contradictory or farfetched
  • Parent more preoccupied with own problems than with the child
  • Overcritical of the child
  • Unrealistic expectations of child's ability or needs for his or her age
  • Child seen as a burden or difficult
  • Belief in necessity of harsh punishment
  • Substance abuse
  • Parent appears to lack control of temper
  • Borderline intelligence
  • Mental illness
  • Overcrowded, unstable living conditions
  • Parent has poor self-esteem
  • Parent ignores or does not touch child
  • Unwanted pregnancy or child is of wrong sex
  • Absent parent

Possible Child Indicators of Physical Abuse

Behavioral

Many children who experience physical abuse have lost trust in adults, because caretakers who were supposed to protect and nurture them caused them harm.

  • Wary of adults
  • Extremely aggressive or withdrawn
  • Apprehensive when adults approach a crying child
  • Controls crying or cries hopelessly
  • Drastic behavior change when away from parents
  • Has poor image of self
  • Accident prone
  • Delinquent behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-mutilating
  • Frightened of parents, of going home
  • Overprotective of or makes excuses for parents
  • Attempts or contemplates suicide
  • Expressionless stare
  • Constantly on alert for change

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Neglect

Physical neglect is the lack of attention to the physical needs of a child and the failure to use the available resources to meet these needs. This may include lack of food, shelter, clothing or cleanliness. Emotional neglect is the lack of attention to the emotional and social needs of the child to the extent that the child is not able to conceptualize himself or herself as being a person of worth, dignity and value. Other forms of neglect include withholding medical care, lack of proper supervision and abandonment.

Possible Family Indicators
Neglectful parents often show a pattern of inattentive child rearing practices.

  • Family history of neglect
  • Disorganization
  • Disorderliness
  • Unable to prioritize
  • Unable to delay impulses or gratification
  • Lack of goals and values commonly accepted by society
  • Lack of consistency
  • Emotional detachment from or indifference towards child
  • No adult assumes responsibility or makes decisions
  • Multiple stressors
  • Passive adult
  • Mental illness
  • Depression
  • Borderline intelligence
  • Ignorance
  • Substance abuse
  • Lack of resources, especially financial
  • Lack of knowledge about parenting and child development
  • Child acts as parent
  • Parent has poor self-esteem and coping ability

Possible Child Indicators

Behavioral

  • Truant or tardy often to school
  • Arrives early or stays late at school
  • Begs, hoards, or steals food
  • Attempts or contemplates suicide
  • Substance abuse
  • Extremely dependent or indifferent
  • Delinquent behavior
  • States there is no caretaker
  • Constant fatigue
  • Acts as parent
  • Poor progress in school
  • Depression
  • Withdrawn
  • Regressive behavior (thumb sucking, soils pants, etc.)

Physical

  • Frequently dirty or unwashed
  • Inappropriately dressed for climate; clothes dirty
  • Underweight, undernourished
  • Constant lack of supervision, engages in dangerous activities
  • Tired and listless
  • Consistent hunger
  • Delayed mental and motor development
  • Excessive dental decay or gum disease
  • Persistent skin rash, lice, ringworm, roach bites
  • Chronic digestive problems
  • Lack of adequate shelter

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Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is any chronic or persistent act by an adult that endangers the mental health or emotional development of a child including rejection, ignoring, terrorizing, corrupting, constant criticism, mean remarks, insults, giving little or no love, guidance and support.

Possible Family Indicators
Some parents do not recognize their actions as emotional abuse. Although their methods are destructive, some are well meaning and desire their children to live out their own fantasies of success.

  • Parental history of abuse
  • Parent extremely critical, belittles child
  • Parent has poor self esteem
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor parenting skills
  • Unrealistic expectations of children
  • Rigidity
  • Domineering, overprotective parent
  • Domestic violence
  • No social support
  • Poor marital relationship
  • Multiple stressors

Possible Child Indicators
Physical signs of this type of abuse are easily overlooked. An emotionally abused child's behavior usually indicates a lack of confidence or an attempt to receive some type of attention from an adult.

Behavioral

  • Overly eager to please
  • Seeks out adult contact
  • Views abuse as being warranted
  • Is excessively anxious
  • Depression
  • Withdrawn
  • Inconsistent behavior at home and at school
  • Behavior extremes (aggressive and passive), bizarre behavior
  • Negative self-image, low self-esteem
  • Anti-social or destructive
  • Mentally and emotionally immature
  • Hypochondria
  • Lacks self-confidence
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Runs away from home
  • Habit disorders (sucking, rocking, biting)
  • Unprovoked fits of yelling or screaming
  • Impatient
  • Sabotages his or her chances of success
  • Hyperactive or disruptive

Physical

  • Sleep disorder
  • Wets the bed
  • Developmental lags (physically, emotionally, mentally)
  • Speech disorder
  • Eating disorder
  • Failure to thrive in infants
  • Skin rashes, hives, etc.

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