Child abuse and neglect happens in every community in Vermont and occurs in all different types of families.
As members of our larger Vermont community, we each have an individual duty to protect children and some of us are, in fact, bound by the law to do so.
Vermont has statute (Title 33, Chapter 49, §4913) that requires a number of professionals, including all healthcare providers and mental health professionals, to make a report to the Vermont Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division, if they reasonably suspect abuse or neglect of a child.
That report must be made within 24 hours of the time information regarding the suspected abuse or neglect was first received or observed. The professionals who must report suspected child abuse or neglect are called mandated reporters.
People often ask what it means to “reasonably suspect” child abuse or neglect.
They wonder just how much information they need, what qualifies as abuse or neglect, or if they need proof of their suspicions before calling. The law is written to allow each individual mandated reporter to determine what they believe may be abuse or neglect and to report accordingly.
No proof is needed and callers are simply asked to provide all the information they have. Although not every report made is accepted for intervention, all reports are documented and provide useful information in the event future reports regarding the same child are received.
Although mandated reporters are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect, anyone can call the Vermont Child Protection Line at 1-800-649-5285, 24/7/365, and make a report.
DCF welcomes these reports and appreciates the community effort to address child abuse and neglect in Vermont.