Who should report child abuse?
Anyone may report cases of suspected child abuse. Under Massachusetts law, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency that receives all reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children under the age of 18. DCF depends on reports from professionals and other concerned individuals to learn about children who may need protection.
(Remember - if it is an emergency, please call 911 first and make a report of the problem, then follow up with a call to DCF.)
Some people are required by law to report suspected abuse to DCF. These people are called Mandated Reporters.
State law requires professionals whose work brings them in contact with children to notify DCF if they suspect that a child has been - or is at risk of being - abused or neglected.
- All medical personnel, including dentists
- Mental health/human service providers
- Daycare workers
- School personnel
- Foster parents
- Youth workers
- Police, firefighters, EMTs
- Court personnel
- Clergy members
Mandated reporters who fail to make a report can be charged with a criminal offense and punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.
Anyone who files a report in good faith is protected by law from civil liability.
Anyone who is concerned that a child is being abused or is at risk of abuse can make a report by calling the Department of Children and Families.
Monday-Friday, 8:45 AM to 5:00 PM
Department of Children and Families (Berkshire Office) 413-236-1800
Toll free 800-292-5022
After 5:00 PM and weekends
Child-at-Risk Hotline 800-792-5200
For more information child abuse and neglect, and reporting procedures, call the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Berkshire Office at 413-236-1800 or toll free at 800-292-5022.