Frequently Asked QuestionsReporting Abuse & Neglect
Who should report Child Abuse or Neglect?
Anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected should make a referral to their local Children Services Agency. Some professionals are mandated by law to make these referrals. In general, mandated reporters are individuals who work with children in a professional capacity.
Will a reporter's identity remain confidential?
The identity of the reporter of a child abuse or neglect investigation shall remain confidential. The identity of such individuals cannot be released by Mahoning County Children Services to any party other than other Children Services Agencies, law enforcement officials or the prosecutor’s office.
Where should a report be made?
The report should be made to the Public Children Services Agency in the county where the child resides.
You can contact Mahoning County Children Services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 330-941-8888. If you are calling during business hours (Mon-Fri 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM) please ask for an Intake Screener. During non-business hours, you will be automatically forwarded to the Help Hotline. You are also able to make a report in person by visiting the agency.
What information is needed when making a report?
In order to investigate a report, we must have information to be able to identify the victim and/or a way to locate the victim.
Beyond this, the following information is also preferred:
- The name and age of the child (preferably a birth date)
- Address of the child
- Who the alleged perpetrator is and his or her address
- Information on the perpetrator’s access to the child
- Name of legal parent(s) and/or caretaker(s)
- Address of the legal parent(s) and/or caretaker(s)
- Names of any other children or adults living in the home
- Information (as specific as possible) regarding the alleged abuse or neglect. The date of the incident(s), other possible victims, witnesses, how long the issue has existed, if the issue has ever been addressed with the parent/caretaker, etc.
- Names and contact information for others who may know information regarding the allegations
- Names of any known relatives and their contact information
What is considered Abuse or Neglect?
Physical Abuse: is defined as any physical injury or death inflicted other than by accidental means; an injury which is at variance with medical evidence and the history given; severe corporal punishment; discipline or restraint which is excessive and creates serious physical and/or emotional harm to the child.
Sexual Abuse: Is an act against the child as defined in Chapter 2907 of the ORC, where such activity would constitute an offense under that chapter, including:
- Sexual battery
- Corruption of a minor
- Gross sexual imposition
- Felonious sexual penetration
- Compelling prostitution
- Pandering obscenity involving a minor
- Importuning – definition: to press or urge with troublesome persistence, such as to solicit, request, command or intentionally aid another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offense.
Neglect: is defined as the failure of a parent or guardian(s) to provide for the necessary sustenance, education or medical needs of a child (this can be due to refusal to provide, faults, habits or abandonment on the part of the parent or guardian). Neglect includes, but is not limited to:
- Inadequate housing (conditions so dangerous that there is a threat of injury or health hazard if there is no agency intervention).
- Supervision based on the impact on children due to being left alone/unsupervised.
- Medical Neglect (parents refusing treatment which places a child at risk; attempting to remove child against medical advice; failing to take a child for treatment of a diagnosed condition placing a child at risk; and failing to have a mental condition treated – if that mental condition is a threat to the child’s life).
- Inadequate clothing or food (parents failing to provide clothing that is weather appropriate or food within the limits of the parent’s resources). Inadequate nutrition with identifiable physical results, such as failure to thrive.
- Failure to provide for appropriate hygiene of child, resulting in a medical problem.
Where can I get more information?
Feel free to contact Mahoning County Children Services at 330-941-8888 with any specific questions you might have.