What Happens After You Call
Five years ago, 844-CO-4-Kids was launched to provide one easy-to-remember phone number for individuals to use statewide to report their concerns about possible child abuse and neglect.
Since January 2015, more than 1 million calls have been made to the state’s hotline system, and local county human/social services have assessed the safety and wellbeing of 274,193 children and teens in Colorado. Watch this video to experience what happens after you call.
Colorado’s Child Abuse and Neglect 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.
County human services employees work directly with families to strengthen a family’s ability to protect and care for their children; minimizing harm to youth, and ensuring timely permanency planning. Permanency planning is a social work process that seeks a permanent living situation for each child entering the foster system. When safety is not possible within a family, services focus on the child’s need for a stable, permanent home as quickly as possible.
The Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline 844-CO-4-Kids serves as a direct and efficient route to the counties which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect inquiries and reports.
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. This phone number for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect is 24/7, 365 days a year.
If you’re concerned about a family, call 844-CO-4-Kids.
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 involvement of the child welfare team.
Most calls don’t result in a visit from a caseworker visit 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 70% of child welfare cases, children and youth stayed safely at home while their family received services.
You don’t need to know for certain if abuse or neglect are occurring to make a call. All calls through the Colorado Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline system are kept confidential and recorded for quality assurance purposes.
Approximately 70% of children involved with children's services in Colorado are helped in their own homes.
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 your home can be a scary experience for a child, one that case workers try to avoid 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.
Colorado is currently experiencing a shortage of foster parents. We need your help.
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, 14 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. With just over 2,000 foster certified foster homes, social services agencies 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.
Become a CASA or get involved with an organization in your community.
Often when a child becomes involved with child protective services a court case is opened known as a "Dependency and Neglect Case". A Judge in the court case may also appoint a "Court Appointed Special Advocate,” or CASA, to provide an additional voice for the child(ren). These volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA program. This is just one way people in the community can get involved and support the children and families involved in Colorado's child protection system. If you are interested in becoming a CASA, check out your local chapter today.
Colorado kids and families are counting on you. If not you, then who?
There are many ways you can get involved in your community to prevent child abuse and neglect; even if you aren’t raising a child or working with children every day.
Use the search tool to get involved and make a difference wherever you are.
You are never too old to need a family.
Every child wants their parent to love and care for them. Sometimes children are able to return home safely to be reunified with their parents or caregivers, and sometimes a relative or family friend become a permanent home. Unfortunately, sometimes parents or caregivers are never able to provide a safe and nurturing home again. If you are open to providing a temporary or permanent home, consider fostering or adopting in Colorado. Your involvement plays a critical role in the life of a child. Too many children and teens age out of the child protection system alone. Colorado needs more foster and adoptive families.