Action Alliance for Children is no longer creating new content for Children's Advocate and Defensor de los Niños.
We encourage the continued use and distribution of the magazine and online articles archive.
Permissions guidelines: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License.

Assistance for Child Abuse

May 5, 2014


April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, but every month it’s important for parents, teachers and care givers to be aware and alert and to report anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) aims to assist and protect the state’s most vulnerable children.

The CDSS is comprised of various divisions that provide specific services to California families, particularly surrounding child abuse and neglect. The following are some of the services provided by CDSS.

Where to receive assistance

  • If you need to report child abuse or suspect a child’s safety and health is being jeopardized as a result of parental or caretaker abuse, contact the Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotlines, which include emergency response hotline numbers for each county in the state.
  • If it is determined that a child needs protection, CPS will accept the case and, if required, intervene in the crisis. For more detailed information on the process or CPS’ services, visit the website.
  • To file a complaint about county agencies that provide child welfare services, send a letter to the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman (FCO). For complete details, visit the CDSS website on Child Welfare Services Complaints.
  • For child abuse prevention services and information, see the Office of Child Abuse Prevention, which aims to strengthen and preserve families by administering state and federal grants.
  • To check if an in-home child care provider has any criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports, visit the California registry TrustLine. This registry provides valuable information on who passed a background screening.
  • If you are looking for a safe place to surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth (with no questions asked), check your county safe surrender site or call 1-877-BABY SAF (1-877-222-9723). These sites are hospitals or other areas, typically fire stations, that have received approval by each county’s board of supervisors or fire agency. Assistance is also available in Spanish.