If you need to report potential or actual child abuse or neglect, you should immediately telephone the 24-hour DCF Child Protection Hotline at 1-(800)-792-5200. You may also contact the DCF Area Office serving the child's residence and ask for the Protective Screening Unit. You will find a directory of the DCF Area Offices at the end of this Guide. Offices are staffed between 9 AM and 5 PM weekdays.
As a mandated reporter you are also required by law to mail or fax a written report to the Department within 48 hours after making the oral report. The form for filing this report can be obtained from your local DCF Area Office or from the DCF website: www.mass.gov/dcf.
Your report should include:
- Your name, address and telephone number;
- All identifying information you have about the child and parent or other caretaker, if known;
- The nature and extent of the suspected abuse and/or neglect, including any evidence or knowledge of prior injury, abuse, maltreatment, or neglect;
- The identity of the person you believe is responsible for the abuse or neglect;
- The circumstances under which you first became aware of the child's injuries, abuse, maltreatment or neglect;
Massachusetts law defines the following professionals as mandated reporters: What is DCF?
- Physicians, medical interns, hospital personnel engaged in the examination, care or treatment of persons, medical examiners;
- Emergency medical technicians, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, osteopaths;
- Public or private school teachers, educational administrators, guidance or family counselors;
- Early education, preschool, child care or after school program staff, including any person paid to care for, or work with, a child in any public or private facility, home or program funded or licensed by the Commonwealth, which provides child care or residential services. This includes child care resource and referral agencies, as well as voucher management agencies, family child care and child care food programs;
- Child care licensors, such as staff from the Department of Early Education and Care;
- Social workers, foster parents, probation officers, clerks magistrate of the district courts, and parole officers;
- Firefighters and police officers;
- School attendance officers, allied mental health and licensed human services professionals;
- Psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers, drug and alcoholism counselors;
- Clergy members, including ordained or licensed leaders of any church or religious body, persons performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body, or persons employed by a religious body to supervise, educate, coach, train or counsel a child on a regular basis; and
- The Child Advocate.
This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.