Report Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect
- TO REPORT, call the statewide toll-free Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Line 1-833-958-3500, between 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Central Time, Monday-Friday (7 a.m.– 4 p.m. Mountain Time)
- A dedicated team of specialized child protection intake professionals will answer and gather all needed facts so local CPS workers in the human service zones can act more quickly to protect children.
- Please know that calls to local human service zone offices to report suspected child abuse and neglect are rerouted to the centralized Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Line.
- IMPORTANT: If it's an EMERGENCY and a child is in immediate DANGER, CALL 9-1-1 NOW.
- Protect the health and welfare of children by encouraging the reporting of children who are known to be or suspected of being abused or neglected.
- Provide adequate services for the protection and treatment of abused and neglected children and to protect them from further harm
- Identify the cause of children's deaths, where possible; Identify circumstances that contribute to children's deaths; and recommend changes in policy, practices, and law to prevent children's deaths
The law governing child protection services is NDCC 50-25.1.
- Institutional Child Protection Services
- The North Dakota Child Fatality Review Panel (NDCFRP)
- Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
- Other Topics (Mandated Reporters, Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect What Happens After a Report is Received, and Appeal Rights)
Institutional Child Protection Services
Institutional child abuse and neglect is defined by North Dakota Century Code 50-25.1-02 (17) as, "situations of known or suspected child abuse or neglect when the institution responsible for the child's welfare is a public or private school, a residential facility or setting either licensed, certified, or approved by the department, or a residential facility or setting that receives funding from the department. For purposes of this subsection, residential facilities and settings excludes correctional, medical, home- and community-based residential rehabilitation, and educational boarding care settings."
When a child is suspected of being abused under circumstances that fit within this definition, the suspicion of possible child abuse or neglect can be reported to the statewide toll-free Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Line 1-833-958-3500. Certain professionals are required by law to make reports whenever child abuse or neglect is suspected. State Form No. 960 (LINK to SFN 960) may be used to make a report of suspected institutional child abuse or neglect.
Institutional child abuse and neglect reports, including reports concerning employees of a public or private school, are forwarded from the reporting line to the Institutional Child Protection Services unit within the N.D. Department of Human Services. Reference N.D.C.C. 50-25.1-04.
North Dakota Child Fatality Review Panel (NDCFRP)
- Is a multidisciplinary, multi-agency member appointed panel created by the North Dakota legislature in 1996 through an amendment to North Dakota Century Code Chapter 50-25.1
- Reviews deaths of all minors (under 18 years of age), which occur in the state
- Shares information and reviews compiled data to discover the circumstances surrounding a child's death and to identify trends or patterns in the deaths. Patterns can be used to guide efforts to prevent children's deaths by recommending changes in policy, practice and law.
- Meets on a regular basis (Meetings are closed to the public and all case discussions and documents, except for an annual report are confidential.)
- Contact information for the NDCFRP can be found within the annual reports.
The NDCFRP presiding officer is allowed under North Dakota Century Code 50-25.1-04.4 to request and receive records from "any hospital, physician, medical professional, medical facility, mental health professional, mental health facility" to aid in the panel's work.
Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
The Child Protection Program supports and funds numerous child abuse and neglect prevention activities in collaboration with both public and private partners.
Prevention efforts include:
- Community-based child abuse prevention grant activities
- Parenting education through the Parent Education Network and Nurturing Parent Programs
- Support to Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota
- Child Abuse prevention month activities each April
- NEW Final Report to Legislative Management: North Dakota Task Force on Substance Exposed Newborns (2015-2016)
- NEW Report provided to the North Dakota Task Force on Substance Exposed Newborns (2016)
- BROCHURE: Alternative Response Assessment
- Mandated Reporters
- Reporting Suspected Abuse Or Neglect
- What Happens After A Report Is Received
- Appeal Rights
Professionals having knowledge of or reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected or has died as a result of abuse or neglect, must make a report of the circumstances.
Professionals required to report are:
- physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist, dental hygienist, medical examiner, coroner, or any other medical professional
- mental health professional
- religious practitioner of the healing arts
- school teacher or administrator, school counselor
- addiction counselor
- social worker
- any child care worker
- foster parent
- police or law enforcement officer
- juvenile court personnel, probation officer, Division of Juvenile Services employee
- member of the clergy
- Any person having reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected, or has died as a result of abuse or neglect, may report such circumstances
- Under the amended law, the chief administrator of an entity that employs more than 25 individuals who are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect (mandated reporters) may designate an agent to submit reports of suspected child abuse and neglect on behalf of staff members or volunteers within that entity.
- A report filed by a designated agent must include: the first and last name, title, and contact information for every staff member or volunteer of the entity who is believed to have direct knowledge of the facts surrounding the report.
- A single report from the designated agent is adequate to meet the reporting requirement on behalf of staff members and volunteers of the entity listed with the required information.
- When handling a report of suspected child abuse and neglect, a designated agent may not:
- Impose conditions, including prior approval or prior notification, upon a staff member or volunteer reporting suspected child abuse or neglect under this chapter.
- Exercise any control, restraint, or modification, or make any changes to the information provided by the staff member or volunteer.
- Any individual may continue to make reports directly to the ND Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Line
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
A person mandated to report, or any person wanting to report suspected child abuse or neglect, should call 1-833-958-3500, North Dakota's NEW toll-free Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Line.
- Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect may be made verbally or in writing
- The state's reporting form, SFN 960, is also available at local human service zone offices (formerly called county social service offices).
What Happens After a Report is Received by Child Protection Service Staff?
When a report of suspected child abuse or neglect the following occurs:
- Analysis of the information in the report to determine what actions to take for an assessment
- Assessment of the concerns in the report to find the facts
- Decision about whether services are required for the protection and treatment of an abused or neglected child
- Referral to juvenile court for review if services are determined to be required and court ordered services or protective custody is needed
- Provision of protective services to the family such as parenting education, counseling, supporting services, foster care, etc.
- Brochure: What Happens Next? - A guide to ND child protection services (31kb pdf)
The caregiver (subject of the report of suspected child abuse or neglect) has a right to appeal the decision of whether services are required for the protection and treatment of an abused or neglected child.
A request for an appeal must be in writing on forms developed and provided by the department. The written request for an appeal and formal hearing should be submitted to:
N.D. Department of Human Services 325
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0250
FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit the Children & Family Services Division's publications page.