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Child abuse

Reporting to the Department of Children and Families

Who must report

Certain health care professionals are mandatory reporters, including:
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists
  • Drug and alcoholism counselors
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Hospital personnel engaged in the examination, care or treatment of patients
  • Medical examiners
  • Nurses
  • Optometrists
  • Osteopaths
  • Physicians and medical interns
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychiatrists and psychologists
  • Social workers (clinical)

What to report

Abuse/neglect by a caretaker. A “caretaker” includes “any person who is, at the time in question, entrusted with a degree of responsibility for the child.” The abuse or neglect may occur in hospitals or other treatment facilities. For definitions of “abuse” and “neglect,” see the "Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect" or 110 CMR § 2.00.

How to report

  1. Immediately call the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Child Protection Hotline at 1-(800) 792-5200, or call the appropriate Protective Screening Unit in the DCF Area Office covering the child's residence. (See this guide for a directory of the DCF Area Offices.)
  2. Within 48 hours of making the oral report, mail/fax a report to DCF. See Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect for the latest report form or obtain it from a local DCF Area Office.



M.G.L. c. 119, 51A, 110 CMR § 2.00

Contact information

Central Office:
Department of Children and Families
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 748-2000

Regional Offices