If You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect
Immediate Danger: Call 911
- Call the Reporting Line at (612) 348-3552 (Option 1) or
- Fax a Suspected Child Maltreatment Form to (612) 466-9581
Reports are accepted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Minnesota law gives Hennepin County the authority and responsibility to investigate reports of abuse or neglect to a child when the perpetrator is a person in:
- The child’s family or household,
- A licensed day care, or
- The child’s foster home
Note: Other State of Minnesota departments are responsible for investigating other types of suspected maltreatment, e.g., schools, hospitals.
Reporting suspected child abuse or neglect outside of the child's home
Anyone may report if they know or suspect that a child who lives in Hennepin County is being abused or neglected or has been abused or neglected in the past three (3) years.
The name of the reporter is confidential—it is not revealed to the subject of the report. Unless mandated by law (see Mandated Reporters below), reports are voluntary and may be made anonymously. If acting in good faith, the reporter is immune from civil and criminal liability.
How to report
Immediate danger: Call 911 or your local police department if you know or suspect that a child is in immediate danger
No immediate danger:
- Telephone. To report suspected abuse or neglect to a child in Hennepin County, call the Child Protection Reporting Line at 612-348-3552 (Option 1).
- Calls are accepted 24 hours a day, every day of the year including holidays.
- Call even if you are not sure whether or not to report. A screener will assist you.
- Written report. Alternately, you can download and print out the Suspected Child Maltreatment Form and submit it via Fax 612-466-9581.
What to expect
When you call 612-348-3552 (Option 1) to report suspected child abuse or neglect, you will speak to one of our Child Protection Screeners. The screener will record your information about the suspected maltreatment and, most likely, the screener will ask you additional questions.
Be prepared to provide:
- Information that will identify the family including the names and addresses of the child and parents.
- Specific data about the abuse and neglect to the child including what the allegation is, who the perpetrator is, when the abuse or neglect occurred.
Other helpful information:
- What school the child attends
- Who else might have information about the child’s situation
- Where the child is at the time of the report if different from home address
- Identity of other family and household members.
Community members who work with children in a professional capacity are mandated reporters, that is, they are required by law to make a report to Child Protection if they suspect abuse or neglect to a child.
Types of Maltreatment
- Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is when a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the child’s care hurts a child, causing any physical injury, other than by accident.
- Sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is criminal sexual conduct with a child by a person responsible for the child’s care, or by a person who has a significant relationship to the child.
- Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse or maltreatment is the consistent or deliberate infliction of mental harm on a child by a person responsible for the child’s care where there is an observable, sustained, adverse effect on the child’s physical, mental or emotional development.
- Neglect. Child neglect is continued failure by parents or caretakers to provide a child with needed care or protection. Usually, this is the failure to:
- Supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical or mental health care, education or appropriate supervision.
- Protect the child from conditions or actions that endanger the child.
- Take steps to make certain the child is educated according to the law.
With neglect, the most common form of maltreatment, the harm results from what the parent or caretaker fails to do.
- Educational neglect. State law requires children to attend school. For children 5-11, seven (7) un-excused absences falls under the state guidelines for educational neglect and, therefore, within the legal criteria for child protection.
- To file a report of suspected educational neglect go to the Hennepin County Attorney Office's be@school attendance program page.
- If you have any questions regarding reporting educational neglect or be@school, you can contact the Office of the Hennepin County Attorney-Child Protection Division, 525 Portland Avenue South, Suite 1200, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415 or by phone: 612-348-6041.