Making the Call
As soon as a mandated reporter suspects abuse or maltreatment, an oral report must be made by calling the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR). The SCR is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to receive calls (NYSOCFS, 2016).
Mandated Reporter Express Line: 800 635 1522 (or 311 in NYC)
Note: This number is for mandated reporters only and should not be given to anyone else.
For non-mandated reporters, or those not acting in a professional capacity, the number to call is: 800 342 3720
When to Report to the Justice Center
The Protection of People with Special Needs Act (Act) requires persons who are Mandated Reporters under that Act to report Abuse, Neglect and Significant Incidents involving vulnerable persons to the Vulnerable Persons’ Central Register (VPCR) operated by the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/).
Under the Act, persons who are mandated reporters to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment are also mandated reporters to the VPCR, with the exception of day care providers and staff. Day care providers and staff are mandated reporters to the SCR, but not to the VPCR.
Effective June 30, 2013, persons who are Mandated Reporters under the Act have a legal duty to:
- Report to the Justice Center, by calling the VPCR at 855 373 2122, if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect of a Vulnerable Person, including any person receiving residential services in a facility operated by, or provider agency facility licensed or certified by, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).
- Report all Significant Incidents regarding vulnerable persons to the Justice Center by calling the VPCR at: 855 373 2122
- Continue to call the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment of children in family and foster homes, as well as day care settings. Suspicion of child abuse or maltreatment in a day care setting, foster care, or within a family home must continue to be reported to the Statewide Center Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment at 800 635 1522.
Note: If you are confused about where to call, the trained professionals at either location can help you get to the right place. The most important thing is to make the call!
What to Expect When You Make the Call
Your call will be answered by a CPS specialist trained to help you through the process of making a report. You need to be prepared to articulate your concerns clearly and concisely, and to provide as much information as you can to help the CPS specialist make a determination.
You may find that using the LDSS-2221A form (which you will eventually have to submit if your call is registered) will help you organize your thoughts and gather the information you have in preparation for making the call. While at this point the child’s welfare is your priority rather than completing the form, the CPS specialist is going to ask you many of the same questions that appear on the form (NYSOCFS, 2016, 2016a, 2014, 2011, n.d.-d, -e).
In order to gather information to make a report you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the role of the parent (or the person legally responsible)?
- What information can I provide to show who is responsible?
- Is this situation part of an ongoing pattern?
- Where is the child now?
- What do I know about the child’s siblings?
- Does the child have any special needs? If so, what are they?
- Is an interpreter needed?
- Is the child on any medications?
- Are there any other related issues that could be helpful for a local caseworker to know?
- Are there personal safety issues for a local CPS case worker (ie, dogs, guns in the home, etc.)?
- When and how can I best be reached, including after hours?
The CPS specialist will want to know your suspicions and concerns relative to the child and if the child has been subjected to harm and why. If you have close and consistent contact with a child this may give you an advantage in assessing the situation. In addition, you will need to provide some identifying information so the local CPS agency will be able to locate the child (SSL §415; New York State Assembly, 2014; NYSOCFS, 2011).
Did You Know . . .
When registering a report, you may ask to be contacted directly by the local CPS agency that is assigned to the report.
Just because you are calling as a mandated reporter does not mean your report will automatically be registered. If your report is not registered, the reason should be clearly explained to you and you should be offered the opportunity to speak with a supervisor. Supervisors are on duty all the time and if you are not satisfied with the result of your interview with the CPS specialist, you should ask to speak with one. Some reports are not registered because CPS intervention is not the appropriate response. In those cases, preventive services may be needed and you can call the local CPS directly to obtain a referral for the family (NYSOCFS, 2011).
If your report is registered, be sure to ask for and write down the call identification number assigned to your report and the full name of the CPS specialist who took your report. You can also request a “Summary of Findings”: a brief report made by the local agency after the investigation and its outcome are complete (NYSOCFS, 2016, 2011).
Law Enforcement Referrals
If your call to the SCR indicates an immediate threat to a child’s health or safety—or a crime—but the report is not registerable, the SCR staff will send the information to the New York State Police Information Network, or to the New York City Police Department for necessary action. These types of calls are referred to as Law Enforcement Referrals (LERs). They are not registered SCR reports and are not assigned a call identification number. If you are a mandated reporter in an LER situation you do not need to file the LDSS-2221-A form (NYSOCFS, 2016, 2011).
Following Up the Call
If your report is registered you will be given a call identification number, which you will need to note in the space marked at the upper right corner of the form LDSS-2221A. Two copies of this form must be forwarded to the local CPS agency within 48 hours of your oral report. The LDSS-2221A form and contact information for local CPS agencies are available from the OCFS website at www.ocfs.state.ny.us and from local social services departments (New York State Assembly, 2014; NYSOCFS, 2016, 2011, n.d.-d).
As soon as you complete your call to the SCR you must immediately notify the person in charge (or their designated agent) at your institution, school, facility, or agency and give them the information you reported to the SCR, including the names of other persons identified as having direct knowledge of the alleged abuse or maltreatment and other mandated reporters identified as having reasonable cause to suspect. Once people in charge (or their agents) has been notified of the report to the SCR, they become responsible for all subsequent administration concerning the report, including preparation and submission of the form LDSS-2221A (see earlier section on institutional reporting paradigm).
Local CPS Response
The flowchart below shows the life cycle of a report called in to the SCR. Once a call report is made, the CPS specialist determines if it is registered or not registered. If it is not registered but there is a crime or imminent danger to a child they will make an LER (NYSOCFS, 2011).
If a report is registered it is immediately transmitted to the local CPS agency, which must begin an investigation within 24 hours. Some reports may require emergency action but these are often difficult decisions and the local caseworker will usually consult with their supervisor and the source of the report in order to make such a decision (NYSOCFS, 2016, 2011).
The local CPS has 60 days to conduct the investigation, which will encompass two interrelated and simultaneous processes:
- Investigation to determine if there is some credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment
- Development of a service plan (NYSOCFS, 2011)
During its investigation caseworkers, in addition to visiting the family, may call or visit relatives, schools, doctors, hospitals, police and any other service provider or agency that might have information about the child. The local CPS must assess the safety, risk, and well-being of the child identified in the report and any other children living in the home. After evaluating all information collected, caseworkers make a determination (New York State Assembly, 2014; NYSOCFS, 2016, 2011).
If a report is determined to be unfounded—no credible evidence was found—it is sealed and will be expunged ten years after receipt. In some situations, unfounded cases may be referred for community services (New York State Assembly, 2014; NYSOCFS, 2011).
If the investigation reveals credible evidence—evidence “worthy of belief”—the report remains on file at the agency. If a service plan was developed, provision of the services is monitored, and once services are no longer needed, the case is closed (New York State Assembly, 2014; NYSOCFS, 2011).Back Next