Asked Questions of the Child Protective Services Program
Who must report child abuse and/or
Any citizen who suspects that a child has been abused
and/or neglected is required to report the incident.
Human Services workers, law enforcement officers, health
practitioners and educators are required by law to report
the incident. Verbal reports must be followed by a written
report within 48 hours. Failure to report can result
in certain professional sanctions.
How do I make a report?
Call Child Protective Services at 240-777-4417, 24
hours a day, 7 days a week to report abuse and/or neglect.
It you think the child is in immediate danger, you
should call 911 and inform the police.
Can I make an anonymous report?
Yes. You do not have to give your name. However, it
is helpful to Protective Services to be able to reach
you for further information.
If you are a professional who is required to report,
you would want to give your name.
Does Protective Services give the name
of the person making the report?
No. Protective Services does not release the name of
the person making the report to those who are being
investigated without a court order directing them to
do so. It is possible, however, for a person to figure
out-who made the report.
Can I be sued if I make a report?
No. Maryland law states that any person who, in good
faith, makes a report of suspected abuse and/or neglect
is protected from criminal and civil suit.
Will I find out what happens after I
make a report?
In order to protect the confidentiality of the child
and family, Protective Services will not give out details
of the investigation.
Is it against the law to spank my child?
No. In Maryland there is no law which prohibits you
from spanking your child.
If, however, physical punishment leaves injuries, such
as bruises or welts, it is the responsibility of Protective
Services to investigate.
At what age can a child be left home
Parents who leave a child alone under the age of 8
may be investigated for neglect.
Parents who leave any child alone for long periods
of time, may be investigated for neglect.
Parents who leave any child alone who is not capable
of handling the responsibilities, or becomes frightened
of the situation, may be investigated for neglect.
A babysitter must be at least 13 years old to care
for children under the age of 8.
Should I believe a child who tells me
he/she has been sexually abused?
Yes. The most reliable indicator of child sexual abuse
is the child's verbal disclosure.
If I make a report of child abuse and/or
neglect will the child be 'removed from the home?
The goal of Protective Services is to keep children
with their families, as long as the child is in a safe
If Protective Services finds that the child's home
is unsafe, they will place the child with a relative,
friend, or in a foster home. Written parental permission
and/or a court hearing is required. Protective Services
will return the child to the home when it is determined
that the home is safe.
Does Protective Services investigate
"emotional" or "verbal" abuse?
No. Protective Services investigates "mental injury";
an observable, identifiable, and substantial impairment
of a child's mental or psychological ability to function,
caused by an act by a parent or caretaker or an omission
by a parent or caretaker.