Family, Youth, and Children's Services
If you need to report child abuse/neglect, call (707) 262-0235
FAX Mandated Reporter Forms to (707) 262-0299
All children and teens deserve to be safe, healthy and supported.
To ensure the safety and well-being of all those growing up in Lake County, the Family, Youth, and Children's Services Program partners with local families, community members and professionals who work with youth.
We protect the welfare of children; improve the lifelong stability of children and youth; and improve the health and strength of families.
We help families understand and solve the issues that lead to child neglect, abuse or exploitation. In those cases when a child must be removed from the home for safety reasons, we help families resolve their issues as soon as possible so that the child can be returned to a safe and loving home. When a child cannot be reunited with the biological family, we help identify a suitable adoptive home or other safe and permanent living arrangement.
When To Report
Trauma experienced in childhood can be repaired when children's lives change for the better through outside help.
Reports to the Child Protection Hotline by caring community members and mandated reporters help children and their families have safer and healthier futures.
If you are concerned about a child's safety, call the Child Protection Hotline (707) 262-0235 or (800) 386-4090 or request a home welfare and safety check by local law enforcement. Many callers feel relief after they call to request support for a child they know.
What are Abuse and Neglect?
The most common concern for child safety. The child has suffered or is at risk of serious physical harm or illness as a result of the failure or inability of a parent or guardian to:
- Adequately supervise or protect the child
- Adequately supervise or protect the child from the conduct of a paid or unpaid caregiver
- Provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical treatment
The child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, serious physical harm inflicted non-accidentally upon the child by the child's parent or guardian.
Sexual abuse is when a child has been a victim of sexual assault or exploitation.
- Examples of assault include: sex acts with children, child molestation and intentional masturbation in presence of child.
- Examples of sexual exploitation include: preparing, selling or distributing pornographic materials involving children, performances involving obscene sexual conduct and child trafficking.
The child is suffering serious emotional damage or is at risk of suffering serious emotional damage due to the conduct of the parent or guardian.
Parents may desert a child without supervision, support or communication, or give up their parental rights because the no longer intend to care for the child.
Learn the warning signs of each type of abuse and neglect:
When to Offer Support
Stress happens to all of us— including parents. Parents who love their children may still need help. By offering neighborly support or suggesting parents contact helpful local resources, you help.
What Not to Report
- Chronic Lice: Connect the parent with a doctor or clinic that can prescribe medication.
- Missing School: Reach out to the school district about offering special services that can help get the child back in school
- Spanking: It is legal to lightly spank children so long as it is age-appropriate and leaves no marks. However, parents can learn other ways to cope with a child’s behavior. Suggest contacting First Five Lake County or the Child Parent Institute.
- Smell of Marijuana: If a parent uses marijuana, ask yourself: Can s/he safely supervise and care for the child? If the answer is no, Report. If yes, you might share Lake County Department of Health fact sheet about marijuana’s impact on smokers and children.
- Frequent Injuries: Scrapes, bumps and bruises are part of childhood, but frequent injuries may signal a problem. Suggest a visit to a pediatrician. Who knows? The child may need glasses or have another health issue.
To Report Your Concerns
- If a child is in immediate danger, first call 9-1-1.
- Otherwise, call the confidential Child Protection Hotline day or night: (707) 262-0235 or (800) 386-4090
Caring community members can learn how to keep children safe:
- Community groups or organizations can request a free presentation for a meeting, conference or gathering.
- Individuals can ask to attend a training to learn how to identify, prevent and report concerns about abuse or neglect.
- Each April, we partner with the non-profit Child Parent Institute to honor national Blue Ribbon Month, which focuses on child abuse prevention. We offer public prevention education through publications and local events.
Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org at or by phone at (707) 263-1090.
Are You a Mandated Reporter?
Certain professionals have a legal responsibility to report any reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused, neglected or endangered:
- health care providers
- teacher or educators
- child care providers
- clergy members
- social service providers
- emergency responders (EMT, fire and law enforcement)
- foster parents
- animal control officers
Call us today to learn about our free training and certification for local Mandated Reporters.
Current Mandated Reporters: learn more about how to Connect. Support. Report.
Child abuse and neglect can occur in all types of families in all types of neighborhoods. The risk increases when families are coping with stressful situations, such as parental substance abuse, domestic violence, financial strain, homelessness or mental illness.
The following signs may mean a child is being abused or neglected and needs help. Problems at home are most often identified by a child’s uncharacteristic behavior or appearance, or by frequent or serious physical illness or injury.
Warning Signs or Red Flags
- Doesn’t have enough food, proper clothing or safe shelter.
- Has poor hygiene, suffers from a chronic illness and/or shows signs of anxiety or depression.
- Describes abuse or domestic violence at home.
- Exhibits inappropriate sexual behaviors or knowledge for his/her age.
- Has non-accidental bruises, cuts or other injuries caused by the parent or guardian. (If injuries are severe or dangerous, call 911 first for immediate help.)
The Parent or Guardian: