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General Information

Department of Children and Family Services Child Protection Hotline

The Child Protection Hotline answers telephone calls reporting suspected child abuse, neglect and exploitation twenty-four hours per day seven days a week. Professional staff evaluate all telephone calls reporting suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation to determine if an in-person investigation is warranted by Department of Children and Family Services.

Depending on the potential danger to the child(ren), reports taken are forwarded to protective services offices throughout Los Angeles County and/or law enforcement agencies for an in-person investigation.

The Child Protection Hotline telephone number is 1 (800) 540-4000. This is a toll free number within the state of California. The telephone number for the Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (T.D.D.) is 1 (800) 272-6699. To reach the Child Protection Hotline from outside the state of California dial 1 (213) 639-4500. A message will be taken and a Children's Social Worker will return your call in 24 hrs. Our address is 1933 S Broadway, 5th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90007.

For general information, please call the DCFS Public Inquiry section at (213) 351-5602 or 351-5603.

What is Child Abuse? (As defined in the California Attorney General's Child Abuse Prevention Handbook):
"To many, child abuse is narrowly defined as having only physical implications. In reality, child abuse includes:
  • Physical abuse; unlawful corporal punishment or injury
  • General and severe neglect
  • Sexual abuse; sexual assault; exploitation
  • Willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment; emotional maltreatment"
Definitions of Abuse and Neglect (As Defined in the California Penal Code):
Child Abuse means a physical injury, which is inflicted by other than accidental means, on a child by another person. Child abuse also means the sexual abuse of a child or any act or omission proscribed by Section 273a (willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment of a child) or 273b (unlawful corporal punishment or injury). Child abuse does not mean a mutual affray between minors.
Neglect means the negligent treatment or the maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child's health or welfare. The term includes both acts and omission on the part of the responsible person. Neglect is described under two categories: severe and general.
Severe Neglect means the negligent failure of a person having the "care or custody of a child to protect the child from severe malnutrition or medically diagnosed non-organic failure to thrive. Severe neglect also means those situations of neglect where any person having the care or custody of a child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered. This includes the intentional failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
General Neglect means the negligent failure of a person having the care or custody of a child to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred.
Sexual Abuse means sexual assault or sexual exploitation of a person under the age of 18 years.
Sexual Assault means conduct involving rape, statutory rape, rape in concert, incest, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts upon a child, oral copulation, penetration of a genital or anal opening by a foreign object or child molestation.
Sexual Exploitation refers to conduct involving matter depicting a minor engaged in obscene acts or in preparing, selling or distributing obscene matter, as well as employment of minor to perform obscene acts.