Should I Tell the Family?

You are not required by law to tell the family that you have made a report to the Hotline. In fact, CPS is mandated by law to protect your confidentiality after you make a report. Here is an example of what a CPS staff member will say when he/she contacts the family:

CPS staff: We received a report with concerns about the care of your children, and we need to talk to you about it.
Family member: Who made the report? Where did this come from?
CPS staff: Under state law, I cannot discuss with you who made the report. If I told you, I would be committing a crime. I would like to talk to you about your child and what the report says…


Mandated reporters can choose to tell the family that they have called the Hotline and the reasons for their decision. This disclosure may help maintain a relationship between the mandated reporter and the child‘s family, especially when there is on-going contact. By disclosing, you can maintain credibility and the trust of the family. If you want to tell the family that you made a report, you should be aware of CPS recommendations and consult with your supervisor. The following are suggestions of how to begin the disclosure to the family:

  • I am a mandated reporter under NYS Law. This Law is set up to help families, not punish them. My call to the Hotline will help you get the services your family needs.
  • I know you care about your family and do not want to have any problems with your child. You are trying really hard, and you could use some support. I am required by Law to call CPS in this situation. We can use the CPS person as a resource, they want to help you get the services you need.

CPS recommendations – CPS advises against telling the family IF:

  • The report involves sexual abuse. The family’s knowledge of the report could impair the CPS investigation by limiting CPS’s ability to gather information from the child and/or family members.
  • The family’s knowledge of the report would result in immediate danger of further abuse/neglect.

Your supervisor may have additional concerns about disclosure:

  • Your agency may have a specific policy that includes disclosure to the family as part of an ongoing helping relationship.
  • Your agency may prohibit disclosure to the family.
  • You may need to discuss disclosure steps with a person who has experience in this area.