Support and Resources


Who has to report?

ANYONE who suspects a child has been abused or neglected can file a report with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) or call their local police department.

People whose jobs regularly bring them in contact with children and who have been specifically designated by the Legislature as mandated reporters are legally obligated to notify DCF when they suspect a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected.


A mandated reporter:

  • Must phone in an oral report immediately by calling the local area office where the child lives or the Hotline after-hours or on the weekend;

  • Must file a written report with DCF within 48 hours;

  • May also notify local law enforcement authorities or the Office of the Child Advocate.


IF KNOWN, a 51A report filed by a mandated reporter shall contain:

  • The names and addresses of the child and the child’s parents or other person responsible for the child’s care, if known;

  • The child’s age;

  • The child’s sex;

  • The nature and extent of the child’s injuries, abuse, maltreatment or neglect, including any evidence of prior injuries, abuse, maltreatment or neglect;

  • The circumstances under which the person required to report first became aware of the child’s injuries, abuse, maltreatment or neglect;

  • Whatever action, if any, was taken to treat, shelter or otherwise assist the child;

  • The name of the person or persons making the report;

  • Any other information that the person reporting believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries;

  • The identity of the person or persons responsible for the neglect or injuries; and

  • Other information required by the department.