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Pediatrics: Child Abuse


State Statutes


DO NOT use e-mail to report child abuse or neglect. It causes delays and confidentiality may not be ensured.

It is important for every person to take child abuse and neglect seriously, to be able to recognize when it happens, and to know what to do next. Care enough to call the state's child abuse hotline:

1-800-25-ABUSE (Illinois)

1-800-358-5117 (TTY)

217-524-2606 (Outside Illinois)

Mandated Reporters


Members of the general public may report suspected child abuse and neglect if they choose. However, state law mandates that workers in certain professions must make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters include:

  • Medical Personnel: Physicians, psychiatrists, surgeons, residents, interns, dentists, dentist hygienists, medical examiners, pathologists, osteopaths, coroners, Christian Science practitioners, chiropractors, podiatrists, registered and licensed practical nurses, emergency medical technicians, substance abuse treatment personnel, hospital administrators and other personnel involved in the examination, care or treatment of patients.
  • School and Child Care Personnel: Teachers, school personnel, educational advocates assigned to a child pursuant to the School Code, truant officers, directors and staff assistants of day care centers and nursery schools, and child care workers.
  • Law Enforcement: Truant officers, probation officers, law enforcement officers, and field personnel of the Department of Corrections.
  • State Agencies: Field personnel from the Departments of Children and Family Services, Public Health, Public Aid, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Corrections, Human Rights, Rehabilitation Services. Also includes supervisors and administrators of general assistance under the Illinois Public Aid Code.
  • Others: Social workers, social service administrators, substance abuse treatment personnel, domestic violence program personnel, crisis line or hotline personnel, foster parents, homemakers, recreational program or facility personnel, registered psychologists and assistants working under the direct supervision of a psychologist, members of the clergy.

Mandated reporters who make good faith reports have the same immunity from liability under the law as non-mandated reporters. However, a mandated reporter's failure to report suspected instances of child abuse or neglect to DCFS constitutes a Class A misdemeanor; simply reporting suspicions to a superior does not satisfy legal requirements.


Call the child abuse hotline as soon as possible. Then you must send written confirmation to the appropriate DCFS field office within 48 hours. The Department will provide a form to use when sending this confirmation. If you suspect a child's death may have been caused by abuse or neglect, you must also call your county's coroner or medical examiner.


Any person who knowingly transmits a false report to the Department commits the offense of disorderly conduct under subsection (a)(7) of Section 26-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961. A first violation of this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term of imprisonment for up to one year, or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by both such term and fine. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony.

(From The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services


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Emily Gilbert
1750 W. Polk St
Chicago, IL 60612
Subjects: Medicine