Five Criteria to Help You Identify Abuse & Neglect

For the Child Abuse Hotline staff to find cause to begin an investigation into suspected child abuse, they must be able to determine that five criteria have been met:

  1. IDENTITY AND LOCATION. Is there enough information known about the identity and location of the potentially abused child to permit an investigation?
  2. AGE OF THE CHILD. Is the child under 18 years of age?
  3. JURISDICTION. Where did the abuse occur and where is the alleged victim now?
  4. PERSONS LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE. Is the perpetrator someone who is legally responsible according to the State Law?
  5. ALLEGATION OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT. Are there allegations that, if true, would constitute abuse or neglect according to New York State law?

Mandated reporters can use these five criteria as a kind of checklist before they call the hotline to make sure they’ve asked the right questions and gathered the right information. To learn more about each of these criteria, click here.


Physical signs and changes in behavior that may be the result of child abuse or neglect. Many indicators, however, can be the result of other causes and need to be assessed further.


In Depth:

Who is Mandated to Report?

New York State Law mandates five main types of professionals to call the Child Abuse Hotline and report if they have a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused or neglected. Because the work of mandated reporters brings them into contact with children and/or families, they are in a key position to help protect children from harm.

Check this list to see if your professional responsibilities make you a mandated reporter in New York State. Talk to your supervisor or employer to be sure of your status as a mandated reporter. You can also call Monroe County Child Protective Services (CPS) at 585-461-5690 to talk it over. If you do not see your profession on this list, you can still report your concerns about child abuse and maltreatment as a voluntary reporter.

Mandated Reporters in New York State
1. Human Services
  • Social workers
  • Social services workers
  • Creative arts therapists
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Psychoanalysts
  • Behavior analysts and behavior analyst assistants
  • Mental health professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Substance abuse counselors
  • Alcohol abuse counselors
  • Publicly-funded emergency shelter employees
  • Residential domestic violence program employees
 2. Child Care Providers
  • School age child care workers
  • Family or group family day care providers
  • Day care center workers
  • Employees in residential care facilities
  • Volunteers in residential care facilities
  • Any other child care or foster care worker
  • Directors of children’s overnight or day camps
 3. Education Providers
  • Teachers and assistants
  • School administrators
  • School support staff
  • Preschool staff
  • Guidance counselors
  • School psychologists
  • School social workers
  • School nurses
  • School administrators
  • School personnel required to hold a teaching, coaching or administrative license or certificate
 4. Health Care Providers
  • Hospital personnel engaged in admission, examination, care, or treatment
  • Registered nurses
  • Physician assistants
  • Physicians and surgeons
  • Residents and interns
  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Christian science practitioners
  • Dentists and dental hygienists
  • Coroners and medical examiners
  • Osteopaths
  • Optometrists
  • Chiropractors
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychiatrists
 5. Law Enforcement
  • Police officers
  • Peace officers, other law enforcement officials
  • District attorneys, assistant district attorneys, or investigators employed in the office of a district attorney