Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect in Illinois
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Child Abuse Hotline
217.524.2606 Outside of Illinois
Call the Police (911) if a child is in immediate danger or has been injured.
In the state of Illinois, all reports of known or suspected child abuse and/or neglect should be reported to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Hotline (1.800.25.ABUSE).
You have a responsibility to report whenever you have reason to believe a person who cares for a child, lives with a child, or works with or around children has caused injury or harm, puts a child at risk of sexual and/or physical injury, or has neglected the child’s basic needs. If you have reason to suspect child abuse, make the report by calling the DCFS hotline, where a hotline worker will determine if the information given by the reporter meets the legal requirements to initiate an investigation.
You have the right to report your story, and we are here to help, listen and connect you to the right services. To ensure the best resources and investigation practices are engaged, we encourage all allegations concerning the abuse and/or neglect of minors are reported to the DCFS Hotline (1.800.25.ABUSE) and/or the local police department first before reaching out to the Office of the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY). If you need to report historical abuse, please contact OPCY at 312.534.5254.
Mandated Reporters are required to call the DCFS hotline immediately when they have reasonable cause to believe that a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be an abused or neglected child. The hotline worker will determine if the information given by the reporter meets the legal requirements to initiate an investigation.
There are seven groups of Mandated Reporters as defined by state law (the Illinois Abused and Neglected Children’s Reporting Act or ANCRA, 1975):
- School Personnel – certified and non-certified
- Medical Personnel
- Social Service and Mental Health Personnel
- Law Enforcement Personnel
- Coroner/Medical Examiner Personnel
- Child Care Personnel
- Members of Clergy
The Archdiocese of Chicago policies requires the following to complete Mandated Reporter Training for their understanding of identifying and reporting abuse:
- Youth Ministers
Child abuse and/or neglect is the maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian, foster parent, relative caregiver, paramour, any individual residing in the same home, any person responsible for the child’s welfare at the time of the alleged abuse, or any person who came to know the child through an official capacity or position of trust. Child abuse can be physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect.
For more information on the State of Illinois definition of child abuse and neglect, visit the DCFS website at www.illinois.gov/dcfs/Pages/default.aspx.
A DCFS call requires additional actions to notify the appropriate leadership in the Archdiocese. When a school is involved, school personnel must report the call to the principal. The principal informs the pastor and their Regional Director in the Office for Catholic Schools, and files the appropriate paperwork.
When a parish religious education program is involved, the Catechist or other volunteer who calls DCFS informs the Director/Coordinator of Religious Education (DRE/CRE). The DRE/CRE notifies the pastor and the Office for Catechesis.
If child sexual abuse is reported to DCFS with an allegation against a cleric, employee or volunteer, you are also required to notify the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review at 312.534.5205.
DCFS Report Form for Mandated Reporters (Link)
If you’re an employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese, and receive an allegation or need to report an instance of abuse, please notify the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review immediately at 312.534.5205.