Reporting Child Abuse

The Family Services Division (FSD) shares an important responsibility with all Vermonters: keeping children safe and making sure their basic needs are met.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected,report it. 
Protecting children is everyone's business!

Who can make a report?

While all Vermonters are encouraged to report their concerns about children’s safety to FSD, certain people — called mandated reporters — are required by law to do so.

Click here for a list of mandated reporters in Vermont. If you are a mandated reporter, this means that you alone are legally required to report suspected child abuse or neglect to FSD within 24 hours.

How do I make a report?

Call 1-800-649-5285 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If the child is in immediate danger, dial 911 or your local police first. Then, call FSD to make a report. 

What happens when I call?

A social worker will:

  • Question you about the situation;
  • Record the information you provide;
  • Ask you to fill out a written report; and
  • In some cases, ask you to gather more information.

Try to have as much information on hand as possible (e.g., the child’s name, date of birth, home address, school or child care provider, and parents’ names). You can fax your written report to (802) 241-3301.

What if I’m not sure it’s abuse?

Please call us for advice, if you:

  • Are not sure a report is warranted; or
  • Are considering telling the parents about your report. In some cases, this could endanger the child and hinder the response.

What information may be shared with me?

If you are a mandated reporter, we may share the following with you:

  • Whether your report was accepted for investigation or assessment;
  • If an investigation was conducted, whether it was substantiated; and
  • If an assessment was conducted, whether a need for services was found.

Can I be sued?

Vermont law provides you with immunity from civil or criminal liability as long as your report was made in good faith.

What about HIPAA?

The HIPAA privacy rule allows covered organizations to disclose protected health information to report suspected child abuse or neglect to government authorities authorized by law to receive such reports.

Is my report confidential?

We will not divulge your identity unless:

  • You give us your permission to do so;
  • Your report leads to a court or human services board proceeding;
  • A court finds probable cause to believe your report was not made in good faith and orders DCF to divulge your identity; or
  • The person substantiated for abuse requests a review of the decision, and we determine that identifying information about you can be provided without compromising your safety.

Where Can I Get More Information?