What Criteria Must Be Met?


Five Criteria CPS Needs to Register a Report:

You do not need to be certain that child abuse or neglect has occurred before you call the Child Abuse Hotline. However, you do need to have a reasonable suspicion. When you call, Child Abuse Hotline staff member will ask you to explain the information and circumstances that caused your suspicion.

Child Abuse Hotline staff members must use the five criteria based on state law to assess each call. Hotline staff will ask you about the child, the child’s family or persons legally responsible for the child and the circumstances in which you believe abuse or neglect took place. CPS needs this information in order to register a report. “Registering” a report means that CPS has enough information to follow up with the family and begin an investigation.

If you have a reasonable suspicion that abuse or neglect has occurred, you should always call the Hotline. If all of the necessary information is not available when you call the Hotline, CPS cannot register the report and may make other recommendations.

Below are the five criteria CPS uses to assess each call to the Hotline.

Criteria Explanation
Is there enough information known about the identity and location of the potentially abused child to permit an investigation?
CPS must be able to identify and locate the child and his/her family to begin an investigation. The information you provide can be as simple as a name and city, town, or county; or only an address, with or without a street number; or only a phone number; or some other information that could lead to the identity and location of the child.
Is the child under 18 years of age?
State Law only applies to people under 18. If you suspect that the victim is 18 or older, call the local police.
*Exception: Children ages 18-21 who are handicapped and in a residential facility, are protected by State Law. If there is a reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect by the facility staff, a report can be taken.
Where did the abuse occur and where is the alleged victim now?
New York State has jurisdiction if: 1) the alleged abuse or neglect took place in New York State, or 2) a child allegedly abused outside of the state is now in New York and is in need of protection.
Is the perpetrator someone who is legally responsible according to the State Law?
A perpetrator (subject of the report) is the person who the mandated reporter suspects has committed an act of child abuse or neglect.

State Law only applies to a parent or persons legally responsible for the child. These include:

  • legal guardian
  • foster care and day care provider
  • employee or volunteer of a residential facility
  • other adults responsible for the child’s care at the relevant time, including any adult who continually or at regular intervals, is found in the same household as the child

If the perpetrator (subject of the report) is not a person who is legally responsible for the child and the circumstances may constitute a crime or a threat to the health or safety of the child, Hotline staff will contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and may ask you to do the same.

Are there allegations that, if true, would constitute abuse or neglect according to New York State law?
Legal definitions
Has the child sustained a serious physical injury, or is the child at imminent danger of harm of sustaining a serious physical injury?


Did the person legally responsible:

  • Inflict the injury?
  • Allow the injury to be inflicted?
  • Create an imminent danger of the injury?
  • Allow an imminent danger of the injury to be created?

Has the person legally responsible

  • Had sexual contact with the child?
  • Allowed sexual contact to occur?
  • Used a child in a sexual performance?
  • Allowed a child to engage in prostitution?


  • Has the child been harmed or impaired or is the child at imminent danger of harm or impairment?
  • Has the person legally responsible failed to provide a minimal degree of care under the circumstances in question?
  • Did that failure cause harm or impairment to the child, or create an imminent danger of harm or impairment?