Child Protective Services: Reporting Abuse or Neglect
Child Protective Services (CPS)
Learn more about how to report abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services, the categories of abuse and neglect, and priority levels.
Texas law requires anyone who suspects that a child or other vulnerable individual is being abused or neglected must report such incidents. Texas Family Code 261.101(a) states “A person having reasonable cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report…” Abuse or neglect can be reported at 800-252-5400 or online at TXAbuseHotline.org.
Not all calls to the hotline result in DFPS opening an investigation. If a call to the DFPS hotline leads to an investigation being opened, the following information is helpful.
This article was written by Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and the Family Helpline at Texas Legal Services Center.
Categorizing the Report of Abuse or Neglect
Categories of Abuse and Neglect:
- Emotional Abuse
- Medical Neglect
- Neglectful Supervision
- Physical Abuse
- Physical Neglect
- Refusal to assume parental responsibility (RAPR); and
- Sexual Abuse
Each of the eight categories of abuse and neglect has its own specific list of criteria that must be met to be placed in that category. The categorization takes place after the phone intake and is subject to change if new information becomes available after the investigation has begun.
Once the report is received and categorized based on the abuse or neglect reported, the intake will be assigned either Priority Level 1 (P1) or Priority Level 2 (P2). P1 reports require that a DFPS investigator contact the alleged victim within 24 hours. On the other hand, P2 reports require the investigator to make contact with the alleged victim within 72 hours.
Priority Level 1
- Allegations are made regarding an immediate threat to the health, safety, welfare, or life of the child;
- Report of abuse or neglect that occurs within 12 months of another investigation of abuse or neglect; or
- Report involving the death of a child.
Priority Level 2
If a report of alleged abuse or neglect does not meet the criteria of a P1 report, it is assigned as P2.
CPS Case Phases
This article, Child Protective Services: Reporting Abuse or Neglect, is the first of seven articles originally prepared by Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. The next articles are:
- Child Protective Services: Investigation Phase
- Child Protective Services: Family-Based Safety Services Phase
- Child Protective Services: The Removal Process
- Child Protective Services: Conservatorship Phase
- Child Protective Services: Final Hearing, Dismissal, Extension or Monitored Return
- Child Protective Services: Termination of Parental Rights
I want a court to order my child returned to me. (Habeas Corpus Guide)
Child Custody & Visitation
I want to get a TRO, temporary injunction, and temporary orders in a child custody emergency.
Child Custody & Visitation
Temporary Authorization for Care of Minor Child (Texas Family Code 35)
Grandparents & Other Nonparent Caregivers
Child Protective Services: Investigation PhaseThis article discusses the investigation stage in Child Protective Services cases.
Child Protective Services: Family-Based Safety Services PhaseThis article discusses the family-based safety services phase of a Child Protective Services case.
Child Protective Services: The Removal ProcessThis article discusses the removal process in Child Protective Services cases.
Child Protective Services: Conservatorship PhaseThis article discusses the conservatorship phase of a Child Protective Services case.
Child Protective Services: Final Hearing, Dismissal, Extension or Monitored ReturnThis article discusses Child Protective Services cases' final hearing, dismissal, extension, and monitoring phase.
Child Protective Services: Termination of Parental RightsThis article discusses terminations of parental rights in Child Protective Services cases.