Reporting Child Abuse - Florida
Under Florida law, any person who knows of or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused, neglected or abandoned is required to report such abuse to the Department of Children and Family Services immediately by calling the department’s abuse hotline, using the web-based report feature or sending a fax. Only certain types of professionals are required to give their names during the reporting process (including doctors, mental health professionals, school teachers or administrators, social workers and law enforcement officers).
If the abuse is at the hands of someone other than the parent, legal guardian, custodian, or family member of the child, a report is to be made to the county sheriff’s office or other law enforcement agency.
Reports involving juvenile sexual abuse or a child who has exhibited inappropriate sexual behavior shall be made and received by the Department. Any alleged incident of juvenile sexual abuse involving a child who is in the custody of or protective supervision of the Department shall be reported to the Department’s central abuse hotline.
Abuse is defined as physical, mental or sexual abuse, injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Abuse includes acts or omissions.
To access the specific sections summarized above in the official Florida Code online, including any relevant definitions, follow:
For valuable information about reporting abuse online, the abuse hotline, definitions of abuse, how to report abuse, information for mandatory reporters, links to the statutes, and other resources and information on child abuse, follow any of the following links to the Florida Department of Children and Family Services web site:
Florida Abuse Hotline: