Child Abuse, Neglect, & Missing Children
The NJ Child Abuse Hotline has consistently received more than 80,000 calls each year for the past decade. According to NJ’s Child Welfare Data Hub, school staff continue to remain among the primary reporters of potential situations of child abuse and neglect; generally making up almost 20% of reports. Because this has been consistent over the years, the school community has been identified as primary partners in the prevention and intervention of potential child abuse and neglect situations. See the below resources to access additional information related to the prevention and intervention of child abuse and neglect.
Currently, N.J.S.A. 18A: 36-25 requires that each district board of education develop policies for the early detection of missing and abused children which must provide for the notification to the appropriate law enforcement and child welfare authorities when a missing or abused child situation is suspected. N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1 establishes regulations for fulfilling this statutory requirement that reflect the notification, reporting and cooperation of schools in these situations.
To help school district employees, volunteers and interns meet the training requirements of N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(8)i, the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families, has developed training modules that provide local school districts with comprehensive reference materials to assist in training school personnel, volunteers and interns about the requirement to report potential abuse and neglect child situations.
1. What is the responsibility of the school district regarding the reporting of missing and abused children?
N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11 requires that the district board of education develop and adopt policies and procedures for school district employees, volunteers or interns to provide for the early detection of missing, abused or neglected children through notification of, reporting to, and cooperation with the appropriate law enforcement and child welfare authorities. N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11 details the minimum requirements for inclusion in the school district’s policies and procedures.
2. What is the responsibility of school volunteers, staff or interns in reporting suspected abuse/neglect?
In accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)2 any individual having reason to believe that a child may be missing or may have been abused or neglected must immediately notify designated child welfare authorities. The Department of Children and Families has designated a State Central Registry (SCR) for the purpose of such reporting and can be accessed by calling 1-877-NJABUSE 24 hours a day/7 days per week. Additionally, school staff, volunteers and interns must inform the school administration so that the district may fulfill its requirement to report to law enforcement. An individual may inform the principal or other designated school official(s) prior to such notification if the action will not delay immediate notification.
If contact with the principal or other designated school official(s) has not been made prior to reporting to child welfare authorities, the individual who notified child welfare authorities must then inform the principal or other designated school official(s) so that he/she may contact law enforcement authorities.
3. Who is required to contact law enforcement authorities once a call has been made to child welfare authorities?
The individual who called child welfare authorities to report the suspected abuse/neglect must inform the principal or other designated school official(s), as outline at N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)3, that the call was made. Upon receiving this information, the principal or other designated school official(s) is required to report the suspicion to law enforcement authorities.
NOTE: School districts that serve as receiving districts should contact the law enforcement authorities with whom they have an existing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), not the law enforcement authorities where the child resides.
4. Is confidentiality guaranteed when reporting to the police?
No. Incidences of suspected missing or abused children that are reported to law enforcement authorities may not guarantee confidentiality, particularly if the information obtained from the school district report has a significant bearing on a potential criminal case.
For specific information on the local handling of such reports, the New Jersey Department of Education encourages county superintendents to contact their County Prosecutor’s Office.
5. Are school districts required to provide annual training?
N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)8 requires that the district board of education include within their policies and procedures, provisions for training school district employees, volunteers and interns on the district’s adopted policies and procedures for the early detection of missing and abused children. The frequency of such training shall be determined by the district board of education. New school district employees, volunteers or interns are required to receive such training as part of their orientation.
6. Are school districts still required to identify a school district liaison?<
Yes. School districts are required to designate a school district liaison for both child welfare and law enforcement authorities. The role of the liaison to designated child welfare authorities required at N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)6 is to act as the primary contact person between the schools in the school district and child welfare authorities with regard to general information sharing, the development of mutual training and other cooperative efforts. The role of the liaison to law enforcement authorities required at N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1(a)7 is to act as the primary contact person between the school in the district and law enforcement authorities pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-6.2(b)1, and consistent with the memorandum of understanding pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-6.2(b)13.
- Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey
- Department of Children and Families – Division of Family and Community Partnerships (FCP)
- How and When to Report Abuse and Neglect
- NJ 2-1-1
Calls to 2-1-1 are always free and confidential and are handled in English and Spanish. 2-1-1 creates one easy access point to the health, human services, community resources, and government assistance people need every day as well as in times of crisis. You may search the 211 database on line, call 2-1-1 from your telephone, text your zip code to 989-211 or chat LIVE with a 2-1-1 specialist.
- NJ Child Assault Prevention
- NJ Division of Aging and Community Services (Adult Protective Services)
- NJ Resources - This comprehensive resource document (available in both English and Spanish) details programs and services the Department of Human Services offers to NJ residents, caregivers, and advocates. It offers information on available food, income or employment assistance programs; support programs and services to assist caregivers; and information for individuals with disabilities on various services including in-home supports, vocational rehabilitation, personal care assistance and education.
- NJ Self Help Clearinghouse
- Prevent Child Abuse NJ
- Women’s Referral Central
- NJ Child Abuse Hotline (State Central Registry)
1-877-NJ Abuse (1-877-652-2873)
- Division of Child Protection and Permanency(DCP&P)
Office of Advocacy - 1-877-543-7864
This hotline provides easy access and a timely response to questions, concerns, disputes and recommendations regarding services provided by DCP&P or by an agency with a license or contract from DCP&P.
- NJ Safe Haven Infant Protection Hotline
This is a toll free hotline for distressed parents who wish to give up an unwanted infant anonymously, with no fear of arrest or prosecution. While information will be requested, no names or records are required.
- Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline - 800-572-SAFE (7233)
- Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) Hotline
- Division for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH)
- Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)
- Division of Disabilities Services (DDS)
888-285-3036 / 609-292-1210 TTY
- Traumatic Brain Injury Fund
- Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund
- Food Stamps
- Kinship Navigator Program (For Caregivers that are not Parents)
- NJ FamilyCare / Medicare Call Center
- PAAD (Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged & Disabled)
- State Disability Insurance (Department of Labor & Workforce Development)
- Support for Working Families (Transitional Supports Hotline)
- Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
New Jersey WIC State Office: (609) 292-9560 Local WIC Agencies: 866 44 NJ WIC (446-5942)
- Universal Services Fund (USF)
(Help with utility bills for low-income families and individuals)
- Workfirst NJ (Welfare for Families and Individuals)
- Lifeline Program
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral Energy Service, Inc. (NJSHARES)
- Winter Termination Program NJ Board of Public Utilities
- Displaced Homemakers Centers
- Hispanic Women's Resource Center Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark
- NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD)
- NJ Next Stop
- One-Stop Career Centers