Each county in New York State has a Child Protective Services (CPS) Unit, which investigates reports of suspected child abuse and neglect received from the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register (Hotline) located in Albany. The safety of all children named in a report is assessed within 24 hours. Within 60 days, a determination is made as to whether or not there is credible evidence of abuse/maltreatment. In addition to assessing whether the child is safe from immediate danger, the risk of future harm is also examined. Investigations include the obtaining of information from collateral contacts such as hospitals, schools and police; an identification and diagnosis of current or past abuse//maltreatment; and, an assessment as to the family's current functioning. Child Protective Services must offer, provide or arrange for rehabilitative services to families where safety/risk issues are identified. CPS has the authority to remove children from their home if children remain unsafe with the current caretaker. Removals and other serious cases result in Family Court involvement.
All children in Herkimer County are eligible for this service without regard to income. If a parent or caretaker is a subject of a report, they are eligible for services as well as their children.
To make a report of suspected child abuse/maltreatment, call the NYS Child Abuse/Maltreatment Register.
Client Fees: None
Child Abuse/Maltreatment Register (Hotline): # 1-800-342-3720
Q. How much proof do I need to call in a report?
A. The level of evidence needed to make a report is very low - you need only have a "reasonable cause to suspect" that a child has been abused or maltreated before calling the SCR. As a mandated reporter, there are generally three situations where a report is required: If a child tells you of maltreatment at home; if a parent tells you of an abusive or neglectful situation regarding their children; or if you suspect maltreatment based on your training or experience (i.e.: injury to a child does not match the explanation given.)
Q. What do indicated and unfounded mean?
A. "indicated" means that the caseworker has determined there is "credible evidence" to substantiate a finding of abuse or neglect. These reports stay on file with the Register in Albany 10 years after the youngest child named in the report turns 18 years. "Unfounded" means that there was not credible evidence gathered during the investigation. These findings are also kept on file - for 10 years.
Q. Does the caseworker tell the family that I made the report? Do I have to leave my name when I call the hotline?
A. Caseworkers are prevented by law from revealing the name or identity of the person who made the report. If you are a mandated reporter, you must give your name to the SCR specialist due to liability protections. The general public does not have to leave their name, but it is recommended and encouraged.
Q. How does CPS decide when to remove a child?
A. The decision to remove a child is made based on the criteria of "imminent danger to a child's life or health". Interventions other than removal are always considered first. When parents are unable or unwilling to care for or protect their child and all other safety interventions are not appropriate, a removal is considered. At times these important decisions have to be made immediately, and with very little information. Frequently, relatives will agree to care for a child, preventing the need for placement.
Q. When can I call the Hotline?
A. The NYS Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register is always available - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you suspect an abusive situation is in progress, call the local police - they can respond immediately to your call. If you feel the situation is not as imminent, call the Register. It generally takes about an hour from the time you make your call to when it is received by the CPS unit at the local district.