Reporting Abuse & Neglect

Quick facts

  • If child is in imminent or immediate danger, Call 911 now! Do not wait to make a report with the Department Family and Protective Services if you believe a child is in immediate danger. DFPS is a not a ‘first responder’ to emergencies.
  • Immediate danger may look like serious cuts and bruises to vital areas of child’s body such as head and abdomen. These are some of the most vulnerable areas of child’s body and severity of injury can take several hours to days before serious to fatal results occur. Do not wait, Call 911.
  • State law requires individuals to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • Law specifies the standard for reporting is Suspicion. The law does not require you know for fact that abuse or neglect is occurring. Suspicion is essentially concern of abuse or neglect.
  • Professionals are Mandatory Reporters and have a specific time frame to report abuse.
  • You may not ask someone else to report for you. You must make the report.
  • Your identity is confidential by law.
  • You may make a report by calling the DFPS hotline, 1-800-252-5400 or via
  • The internet is typically used for situations where it is believed a child is not in immediate danger of being harmed; otherwise call 911 AND the DFPS hotline 1-800-252-5400.
  • Have identifying and locating information on child or family ready when making a report.

Texas law (261.101 a, b) REQUIRES anyone who thinks (suspects) a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS or law enforcement. Professionals such as teachers, doctors, nurses, or child daycare workers must make a verbal report within 48 hours. Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on the severity of the allegations.