In addition to required reports by mandated reporters as identified in Penal Code § 11165.7, any concerned person may report suspected or known child abuse or neglect. All requests for child protective services on new or existing cases are directed to the Child Abuse and Neglect Center (CANC) hotline for initial assessment. These referrals involve allegations of suspected child abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation and may be received telephonically, in writing, or in person.
Although the CANC receives the majority of its referrals from agencies and persons outside of DFCS, any employee of DFCS who, within the scope of his/her employment, observes, suspects, or receives a report of abuse, neglect, caregiver absence/incapacity, or exploitation from a source other than the CANC, shall immediately contact the CANC to make a referral. No supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit the employee's reporting duties, nor shall any person be punished for making a report. No employee is required to disclose to their employer that they have made a child abuse and neglect report.
A report based on risk to a child which relates solely to the inability of the parent to provide the child with regular care due to the parent's substance abuse shall be made only to a county welfare or probation department and not to a law enforcement agency.
| When a DFCS Employee Observes or Suspects Child Abuse
Pursuant to the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, whenever a DFCS employee who, within the scope of his/her employment, observes, suspects or receives a report of abuse, neglect, caregiver absence/incapacity or exploitation from a source other than the CANC, that employee shall immediately contact the CANC to make a referral. The exception to this is when a social worker, during the course of an investigation of a referral, uncovers new allegations on the child who is the named as the victim in the referral being investigated.
If, during the course of the investigation of a referral regarding children in out-of-home care, the investigation reveals that the caregiver's biological/adopted children are victims of abuse or at risk of abuse, the social worker contacts the CANC to make a referral on those children.
All referrals to the CANC must be followed up with a written report on a Suspected Child Abuse Report (SS 8572) to the CANC within 36 hours of the SW's learning of the incident.