What is Child Abuse and Neglect?Child maltreatment is harm (or risk of harm) caused to a child by a parent, caretaker, or another person responsible for the child's safety. Child Maltreatment is generally divided into four basic types.
How do I report Child abuse or neglect?Anyone who suspects that a child, or unborn child, has been abused/neglected or is at risk of abuse or neglect, you should report it to Trempealeau County Human Services (715) 538-2311 ext. 291 during the hours of 8:00 am.-4:30 pm. or after hours contact the Sheriff's Department (715) 538-4351. If this is an emergency please dial 911.
- Persons making reports in good faith are immune from criminal or civil liability.
What information do I need to make a report?When you call to make a report of child abuse/neglect you will be asked to provide as much information as you know. You will be asked for specific information. It is OKAY if you do not have information when asked, just provide what you know. You will be asked the following:
- The child(ren)'s first and last name - middle initial, if possible.
- The child(ren)'s date of birth or approximate ages
- The child's parent(s) or legal guardian's name(s) and dates of birth, if known
- The address and/or phone number of where the child resides
- The address and/or phone number of where the alleged maltreatment occurred.
- Where the children attend school or daycare
- If the child(ren) have special needs
- A description of what you have seen or heard.
- A description of the family, highlighting general functioning, current stresses and how the family might respond to intervention.
- The names of any other people having knowledge of the abuse
- If the child(ren) have any Native American heritage
The names of reporters are not given out to families reported for child abuse or neglect; however, sometimes by the nature of the information reported, your identity may become evident to the family. You may request to make your report anonymously, but your report may be considered more credible and can be more helpful to Child Protective Services (CPS) if you give your name.
What will happen when I make a report?Your report of possible child maltreatment will first be screened within 24 hours by a social worker. If the supervisor can identify enough credible information to rise to the statutory level of CPS intervention your report will be referred to staff who will conduct an investigation. Investigators respond within a particular time period depending on the potential severity of the situation. They may speak with the child, the parents, and other people in contact with the child (such as doctors, teachers, or childcare providers). Their purpose is to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred and if it may happen again.
If the investigator finds that what happened does not meet the definition of abuse or neglect, the case will be closed and the family may or may not be referred elsewhere for services. If the investigator feels the children are at risk or harm, the family may be referred to services to reduce the risk of future maltreatment. In rare cases where the child's safety cannot be ensured, the child may be removed from the home. Due to respect for the family and laws on confidentiality, you will not find out the outcome of the case, unless you are a mandated reporter.
Who is a mandated reporter?Certain individuals whose employment brings them into contact with children are required by s. 48.981 to report any suspected abuse or neglect in the course of their professional duties. A person who is mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect will be informed by the county what action, if any, was taken to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the child who is the subject of the report.
Persons Required to Report Abuse and Neglect: Mandated Reporters ~ s. 48.981(2):
- Medical examiners
- A medical or mental health professional
- Social workers
- Marriage & family therapists
- Professional counselors
- Public assistance workers, including a financial & employment planner, as defined in s.49.141(1) (d), Stats.
- School teachers
- School administrators
- School counselors
- Mediators under s.767.11, Stats.
- Child-care workers in a day care center, group home, as described in s.48.625(1m), Stats. (a "second chance home"), or residential care center for children and youth
- Day care providers
- Alcohol or other drug abuse counselors
- Member of the treatment staff employed by or working under contract with a county department under s. 46.23, 51.42, or 51.437, Stats., or a residential care center for children and youth
- Physical therapists
- Physical therapist assistants
- Occupational therapists
- Speech-language pathologists
- Emergency medical technicians
- First responders
- Police and law enforcement officers
- Court-appointed special advocates (CASA)
To find out how you can become a Mandated Reporter please review the Mandated Reporter Training.
Penalty: Persons required to report who intentionally fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect may be fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned up to 6 months or both.
For additional information and resources on child abuse, neglect, family and parenting information, contact Social Services at (715) 538-2311 ext. 290, or Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin , 214 N. Hamilton Street, Madison, WI 53703-2118, 1-800-children (1-800-244-53736).
Useful LinksReport to the CountyPrevent Child Abuse
Mandated Reporter Training