Time is of the essence when reporting what may possibly be an abusive situation for a child. Every year, the Los Angeles County Child Protection Hotline receives nearly 200,000 phone calls from concerned individuals. Many of these calls involve lengthy wait times or are accidentally dropped, making this form of reporting child abuse or neglect difficult and inefficient. The California Senate decided to tackle this issue and have created a “fast track” online reporting system.
A Pilot Program with a Lot of Promise
During a recent Senate Floor vote, SB 478 (the bill which requested the overhaul of the current child injury and abuse reporting system) received unanimous support. It is now moving to the State Assembly.
The bill is sponsored by the Los Angeles County and the County of Welfare Directors Association. If approved, it will make it possible for mandated reporters to make any initial comprehensive and detailed reports of non-emergency child neglect or abuse to the Child Protection Agency through an online reporting system.
This form of reporting will also help social workers best assess and then respond to any child abuse or neglect cases in a more timely fashion.
Signs a Child’s Injury Are the Result of Abuse
Friends, family members, neighbors and complete strangers often find themselves questioning when or if a child’s injury is the result of abuse or neglect. Some key signs to look out for include:
- Unexplained or frequent injuries (including welts, cuts or bruising)
- A child who seems overly watchful or fearful
- A child who shies away from touch or flinches when touched
- A child whose injuries have a pattern (such as marks from a belt or a hand)
- A child who is wearing inappropriate clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts on very hot days)
Other signs to look out for includes bad hygiene, untreated illnesses and injuries, and children who are often missing from school.
What to Do If Your Child Has Been Abused or Neglected
If you suspect that your child has been injured as the result of abuse or neglect, it is essential that it be reported to the authorities so that a full investigation can be performed. The next step to take is to seek legal counsel from an attorney who specializes in child abuse and neglect cases.
The attorneys at the Cifarelli Law Firm, LLP believe in protecting those who may not be able to protect themselves. For well over 30 years we have committed ourselves to providing compassionate and confidential counsel to parents of children who have been injured or abused.
We invite you to call us today at (949) 502-8600 to arrange for a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.