Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Child Abuse Hotline
217-524-2606 Outside of Illinois
There are seven groups of mandated reporters as defined by state law (the Illinois Abused and Neglected Childrens Reporting Act or ANCRA, 1975):
- School Personnel
- Medical Personnel
- Social Service and Mental Health Personnel
- Law Enforcement Personnel
- Coroner/Medical Examiner Personnel
- Child Care Personnel
Child Abuse and Neglect
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.
Physical abuse occurs when a parent or a person responsible for the child’s welfare inflicts, caused to be inflicted, or allowed to be inflicted a physical injury; created a substantial risk of physical injury; commits an act of torture; inflicts excessive corporal punishment; allows the use of alcohol and/or drugs.
Sexual abuse occurs when a parent or a person responsible for the child’s welfare commits or allows to be committed any of the following: transmission of a sexual disease; sexual penetration; sexual molestation; sexual exploitation and/or places a minor at risk of sexual harm. (Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act)
Neglect occurs when a parent or a person responsible for the child deprives or fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or needed medical care.
When to Call the Department of Children and Family Services Hotline
In the state of Illinois, all reports of known or suspected child abuse and/or neglect are reported to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Hotline (1-800-25-ABUSE).
Whenever you have reason to believe that a person who cares for a child, lives with a child, or works with or around children has caused injury or harm, or 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. The Hotline worker can advise you on whether the signs you have observed are abuse.
Mandated Reporters are required to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment immediately when they have reason to believe that a child known to them through their professional or official capacity may be an abused and/or neglected child.
Making the Call to the Department of Children and Family Services Hotline
Call the Police (911) if a child is in immediate danger or has been injured.
Your report is confidential and is not subject to public release under the Open Records Act. The law provides for immunity from civil or criminal liabilities for innocent persons who report even unfounded suspicions, as long as your report is made in good faith. Your identity is kept confidential. Remember, even if you do not have all the information, you are still encouraged to call. Be sure to identify if you are a mandated reporter. The Hotline worker will ask you to provide the following information:
- Name, age, gender, address, etc. for all adult and child subjects.
- The nature of the suspected abuse and/or neglect.
- When and where it occurred.
- Any additional person(s) with information.
- The name(s) of the suspected perpetrator(s), their relationship to the child, and their access to the child.
- Additional information requested from the Hotline worker.
After Calling the Department of Children and Family Services Hotline
After listening to what you report, the Hotline worker will then determine if the information provided meets the legal requirements for DCFS to initiate an investigation. If an investigation is initiated, a child protection investigator will begin the investigation process within 24 hours. If the information does not meet the legal requirement to initiate an investigation, you will be informed of the reasons why and referrals provided if appropriate.
Following a DCFS call, a teacher is to report the call to the principal. The principal in turn, is to inform the pastor and fax a copy of the completed CANTS 5 form to DCFS and to his/her assistant superintendent. When a religious education instructor calls DCFS, they next inform the Director of Religious Education (DRE) who, in turn, 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 immediately call the Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review at 312-534-5205. A DRE then notifies the pastor, who notifies the Office of Catechesis. A principal notifies the pastor, and the assistant superintendent who, in turn, notifies the superintendent of schools.