When you call to report a concern or get help for yourself or someone else, a certified professional will ask you a series of questions. Then, a team of child welfare professionals review and decide if the situation requires the involvement of the child welfare team.
Most calls don’t result in a visit from a caseworker or child welfare involvement. Often families are connected to resources and services in their community like childcare, food assistance and parenting classes or support. Children and families are best served when they can stay together, and in nearly 97% of child welfare assessments of child abuse and neglect, children and youth stayed in their homes. You don’t need to know for certain if abuse or neglect is occurring to make a call. All calls through the Colorado Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline system are kept confidential and recorded for quality assurance.
Whenever possible, county human services agencies try to ensure the safety of the child(ren) in their own home by connecting parents and caregivers with support and services. Being removed from home can be a scary experience to a child. Therefore, case workers try to avoid it if at all possible.
If it is not possible to ensure the safety and well-being of a child(ren) in their own home, a caseworker looks to family or friends willing to provide a temporary home for the child(ren) while the parent or caregiver works to improve the situation at home. These families are known as “kinship families” and they are connected with support and resources to help avoid placement in foster care.
If a caseworker can’t find anyone that the child has an existing relationship with to provide a temporary home, that is when a child and his or her siblings need to go live with a foster family. On an average day in Colorado, almost 10 children and teens are placed in foster care because their parents need time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be. Today, there are more than 2,000 children and teens living with a foster family in Colorado. We are always in need of families who are willing to care for children with special needs, sibling groups, older youth and young people who speak a different language.
Through the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline System, all hotline calls are immediately routed to the county where a child resides and the Colorado Department of Human Services is able to capture information critical to ensuring each call across the state is handled quickly and appropriately. The 844-CO-4-Kids is the phone number to report child abuse and neglect. It is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Watch this video to hear from some of the people who take calls to the Hotline:
Colorado’s child welfare system is a state supervised and county administered system. This means the Colorado Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare oversees practice and provides policy direction for county human services employees.