Child abuse and neglect are defined by Federal and State laws. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is a Federal law. It provides basic standards that States must merge into their legal definitions of child abuse and neglect. The CAPTA definition of "child abuse and neglect" refers to:
"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
California's Welfare and Institutions Code names certain types of abuse that should be made known to DFCS and/or the police (WIC § 300).
These are the reportable abuse types along with some samples of each type of abuse: