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Child Abuse or Neglect Report - How do I make a report?

    If it is an emergency or you are witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation, call 911 immediately.

    For situations that aren't emergencies:

    La Plata County Human Services main number 970-382-6150

    La Plata County Human Services child abuse and neglect reporting number 970-385-6438

    Central Dispatch 970-385-2900

    Toll-free Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline 844-264-5437 (844-CO-4-KIDS)

    Calls reporting child abuse and neglect will be recorded for monitoring and quality assurance purposes.

What am I required to report?

    You are required to report if you have "reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect" or if you have "observed the child being subjected to circumstances or conditions which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect." (C.R.S. 19-3-304(1))

Who is required to report suspected child abuse or neglect?

    Colorado Revised Statutes 19-3-304. Persons required to report child abuse or neglect.

    (1) Except as otherwise provided by section 19-3-307 and sections 25-1-122 (4) (d) and 25-4-1404 (1) (d), C.R.S., any person specified in subsection (2) of this section who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect or who has observed the child being subjected to circumstances or conditions which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect shall immediately upon receiving such information report or cause a report to be made of such fact to the county department or local law enforcement agency.

    (2) Persons required to report such abuse or neglect or circumstances or conditions shall include any:

    (a) Physician or surgeon, including a physician in training;

    (b) Child health associate;

    (c) Medical examiner or coroner;

    (d) Dentist;

    (e) Osteopath;

    (f) Optometrist;

    (g) Chiropractor;

    (h) Chiropodist or podiatrist;

    (i) Registered nurse or licensed practical nurse;

    (j) Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, care, or treatment of patients;

    (k) Christian science practitioner;

    (l) Public or private school official or employee;

    (m) Social worker or worker in any facility or agency that is licensed or certified pursuant to part 1 of article 6 of title 26, C.R.S.;

    (n) Mental health professional;

    (o) Dental hygienist;

    (p) Psychologist;

    (q) Physical therapist;

    (r) Veterinarian;

    (s) Peace officer as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S.;

    (t) Pharmacist;

    (u) Commercial film and photographic print processor as provided in subsection (2.5) of this section;

    (v) Firefighter as defined in section 18-3-201 (1), C.R.S.;

    (w) Victim's advocate, as defined in section 13-90-107 (1) (k) (II), C.R.S.;

    (x) Licensed professional counselors;

    (y) Licensed marriage and family therapists;

    (z) Unlicensed psychotherapists;

    (aa) (I) Clergy member.

    (II) The provisions of this paragraph (aa) shall not apply to a person who acquires reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect during a communication about which the person may not be examined as a witness pursuant to section 13-90-107 (1) (c), C.R.S., unless the person also acquires such reasonable cause from a source other than such a communication.

    (III) For purposes of this paragraph (aa), unless the context otherwise requires, "clergy member" means a priest, rabbi, duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church, member of a religious order, or recognized leader of any religious body.

    (bb) Registered dietitian who holds a certificate through the commission on dietetic registration and who is otherwise prohibited by 7 CFR 246.26 from making a report absent a state law requiring the release of this information;

    (cc) Worker in the state department of human services;

    (dd) Juvenile parole and probation officers;

    (ee) Child and family investigators, as described in section 14-10-116.5, C.R.S.;

    (ff) Officers and agents of the state bureau of animal protection, and animal control officers.

    (2.5) Any commercial film and photographic print processor who has knowledge of or observes, within the scope of his or her professional capacity or employment, any film, photograph, video tape, negative, or slide depicting a child engaged in an act of sexual conduct shall report such fact to a local law enforcement agency immediately or as soon as practically possible by telephone and shall prepare and send a written report of it with a copy of the film, photograph, video tape, negative, or slide attached within thirty-six hours of receiving the information concerning the incident.

    (3) In addition to those persons specifically required by this section to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect and circumstances or conditions which might reasonably result in abuse or neglect, any other person may report known or suspected child abuse or neglect and circumstances or conditions which might reasonably result in child abuse or neglect to the local law enforcement agency or the county department.

    (3.5) No person, including a person specified in subsection (1) of this section, shall knowingly make a false report of abuse or neglect to a county department or local law enforcement agency.

    (4) Any person who willfully violates the provisions of subsection (1) of this section or who violates the provisions of subsection (3.5) of this section:

    (a) Commits a class 3 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.;

    (b) Shall be liable for damages proximately caused thereby

Can I get in trouble for reporting?

    (C.R.S. 19-3-309): Any person, other than the perpetrator, complicitor, co-conspirator, or accessory, participating in good faith in the making of a report, in the facilitation of the investigation of such a report, or in a judicial proceeding held pursuant to this title, the taking of photographs or X rays, or the placing in temporary protective custody of a child pursuant to section19-3-405 or otherwise performing his duties or acting pursuant to this part 3 shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, or termination of employment that otherwise might result by reason of such acts of participation, unless a court of competent jurisdiction determines that such person's behavior was willful, wanton, and malicious. For the purpose of any proceedings, civil or criminal, the good faith of any such person reporting child abuse, any such person taking photographs or X rays, and any such person who has legal authority to place a child in protective custody shall be presumed.

What happens after I make a report?

    A Human Services supervisor and staff members determines if the concerns meet the Colorado definitions of child abuse or neglect. The report may be screened out, the family may be offered therapeutic or supportive services, and/or the concerns may be further assessed or investigated.

What information do I need to share?

    Child's and sibling's names, birthdates, home address, grades, schools.
    Parent's names, physical address, phone numbers, work locations.
    Nature of concern.
    Does the child have marks/bruises/injuries?
    Where did the incident occur?
    When did the incident occur?

    Please do not ask the child detailed questions prior to calling us, as that may make our investigation more difficult.  With this in mind, we are glad to get any information you can provide about the child and his/her family.  The more information we have, the better decisions we can make.

Will anyone know I reported?

    Human Services staff members are obligated to keep reporting party information confidential.  However, we are required to share that information with law enforcement when completing joint investigations, and law enforcement is not restrained from disclosing the identity of the reporting party. Also, families are often able to guess who made a report to Human Services. We do not confirm their speculation.