Prevent Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse in Florida
What is child and vulnerable adult abuse and neglect in Florida?
Florida state law defines child abuse and neglect as:
- Intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child.
- An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
- Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
- A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child.
- A caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.
The FL Department of Children & Families is also responsible for providing services to detect and correct abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults who, because of their age or disability, may be unable to adequately provide for their own care or protection.
According to the Child Welfare League of America, there were 40,103 victims of abuse or neglect in Florida in 2017, a rate of 3.9 per 1,000 children. Of these children, 23,145 were neglected, 3,256 were physically abused, and 2,773 were sexually abused.
Who is a mandated reporter according to FL state requirements?
According to Florida state law, any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare is a mandatory reporter.
Although every person has a responsibility to report suspected abuse or neglect, some occupations are specified in Florida law as required to do so. These occupations are considered “professionally mandatory reporters”. A professionally mandatory reporter of child abuse/neglect is required by Florida Statute to provide his or her name to the Abuse Hotline Counselor when reporting. A professionally mandatory reporter’s name is entered into the record of the report, but is held confidential. This chart (page 4) explains who is a professionally mandated reporter of child abuse and vulnerable adult abuse in Florida.
How do I report child abuse and vulnerable adult abuse in Florida?
To report child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse in FL, call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or fill out this online child abuse report.
Press 1 to report suspected abuse, neglect or abandonment of a child
Press 2 to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly or a vulnerable adult
Press 3 to verify the identity of a child protective investigator who recently visited you
Press 4 for information/referrals to other services in your local area.
How do I get free online child abuse training for my organization?
Use the code STAYSAFE to enroll in Creating Safe Environments for Organizations, a free online training class. Leaders in organizations use this free online course to explore child abuse prevention best practices and help prevent child and vulnerable adult abuse in Florida.
How do I get online child abuse training for myself?
How do I contact the FL Department of Children & Families?
Contact the Florida Department of Children & Families
ACCESS Central Mail Center
P.O. Box 1770
Ocala, FL 34478-1770
Disclaimer: Please ensure the information and courses meet requirements for your organization and circumstances and align with what your state Department of Children & Families requires. The state requirements and child abuse and human trafficking statistics listed on this page are current as of May 13th, 2021 to meet the best information available. State requirements may change and it is your responsibility to know your state mandated reporter requirements and the process for online child abuse prevention training. Compass Child Protection Training can not guarantee acceptance by your school, organization, or state Department of Children & Families. If there is a child abuse emergency, call 911 immediately.