How You Can Help Stop Child Abuse & Neglect

Please do not contact CPE if you suspect that a child has been abused or neglected.
To file a report of abuse or neglect, please contact DCYF’s Central Intake Unit at 1-800-894-5533 or 603-271-6556.

If a child tells you that he or she has been hurt or you are concerned that a child may be the victim of any type of abuse or neglect, you must call the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

NH law requires any person with reason to suspect a child under age 18 has been abused or neglected must report that suspicion immediately to DCYF.

If you have reason to suspect a child has been abused or neglected, contact DCYF by telephone from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

Proof of abuse and neglect is not required to make a report.

Reports of abuse and neglect concerns are confidential and can be anonymous. If you give your name, please know NH statutes do not allow DCYF to release it to anyone. DCYF will not reveal your name unless you agree or a court orders DCYF to do so. If the family being investigated asks for DCYF records, staff must remove the name of the person who made the report. However, if the case ever goes to court, a judge may request identifying information.

Call your local police department with urgent child abuse or neglect reports during DCYF non-work hours (between 4:30 PM and 8:00 AM or on weekends and holidays).

When you contact DCYF you'll be asked for some information. You may not have all the answers. Just tell us what you know regarding:

  • The name, address, sex, and estimated age of the child and any other children at the home
  • The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the adults who are responsible for the child
  • The full nature and extent of the child's injuries, maltreatment, or neglect
  • Any information about previous injuries, abuse, maltreatment or neglect
  • How great a risk you believe this may be to the child
  • How you learned of this situation
  • Any action that has been taken to treat or assist the child
  • Any other information that could be helpful in determining the cause of the injuries
  • A written report may be requested by DCYF within 48 hours.

Sometimes, people are unsure if a situation is abusive. Even if you're in doubt, call. DCYF has extensive experience in child protection. DCYF may find no abuse or neglect has taken place but may still offer assistance to the family.


RSA 169-C-3, II defines an abused child as "a child who has been:

  • Sexually abused;
  • Intentionally physically injured;
  • Psychologically injured so that said child exhibits symptoms of emotional problems generally recognized to result from consistent mistreatment or neglect;
  • Physically injured by other than accidental means."

RSA 169 –C: 3, XIX defines a neglected child as "a child:

  • Who has been abandoned by his parents, guardian, or custodian; or
  • Who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, when it is established that his health has suffered or is very likely to suffer serious impairment; and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the parents, guardian or custodian; or
  • Whose parents, guardian or custodian are unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization or other physical or mental incapacity..."


How DCYF Responds to Child Abuse and Neglect Reports

When a report of potential abuse or neglect is made:

  • Child abuse and neglect reports are received by child protective staff who comprise a unit the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) refers to as the Central Intake Unit. Staff accept or screen out the report.
  • If the report is accepted, it is electronically submitted to the DHHS district office responsible for the particular geographic area in which the child resides.
  • A Child Protective Service Worker (CPSW) is assigned to assess allegations in the report.
  • The CPSW is required to obtain information that will enable DCYF to determine if the allegations can be substantiated.

The assessment process requires:

  • Meeting with family and all household members.
  • Interviewing the child victim.
  • Making collateral contacts.
  • Making a determination regarding safety of the child and the potential risk of harm.

Determination outcomes:


  • Allegations are not substantiated.
  • Family may be referred to community services for support.


  • Allegations are substantiated.
  • Services provided to ensure continued safety and well being of child.

Responsibilities of the Child Protective Service Workers:

  • Assess suspected cases of abuse and neglect.
  • Assist the family in identifying the problem.
  • Provide in-home visits and supportive services to help children stay at home with their families.
  • Coordinate community and DCYF services for the family.
  • Consult with domestic violence specialists, drug and alcohol counselors, and mental health therapists when appropriate.
  • Petition the court for removal of the child when necessary.
  • Arrange for the child's placement in foster care or a residential care facility.
  • Review the family's case plan every 6 months.

Currently, DCYF contracts with Easter Seals for its after-hours response coverage. The number is 1-800-685-8772. The after-hours response, includes:

  • After-hours placements for children in immediate need of care due to abuse or neglect;
  • Management of non-emergency calls;
  • Messages to be turned over to DCYF the next work day;
  • Information and referral services to community-based agencies that can provide needed services for families; and
  • Individuals who call to provide information and support to police who take calls during DCYF non-work hours.

The involvement of DCYF in a family's life to protect a child is a highly sensitive and confidential matter. DCYF is restricted by NH statutes and federal laws regarding information it can discuss with individuals outside of the child's immediate family. NH law requires DCYF to forward reports of child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse to law enforcement.


This information was obtained from:
**This information was obtained from: