Here's what you can do to stop child abuse and negelect in our community

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Kern County Child Protective Services says they see about 1,800 reports of abuse or neglect every month.

Nearly two thirds of those come from people who are required by law to report, such as teachers.

Officials say if you believe a child's life is in immediate danger you should call 911.

"We also rely upon every neighbor, family, friend if they are aware of any child that may be at risk of abuse or neglect," said Monique Hawkins, program director for Kern County Human Services.

There are several keys to reporting child abuse--the first--to report the abuse quickly and not wait.

"The injuries may be gone, the family may have disappeared or moved, so we encourage people to call right away," Hawkins said.

State law governs how quickly they respond and reports that aren’t as immediate don’t get responded to first.

"If it’s pretty vague it can delay the response time because we have to do a little bit more research or it may not rise to the level based on the information for us to go out," Hawkins said.

They say the other key is details. Time, place, address what you saw and names of people in the family all help case workers get to the child quicker.

"We try and gather as much information as possible about the allegations so we can make an assessment as to our response time," Hawkins said.

If you're wondering whether those calls translates into helping children in Kern County, of the 1,800 reports they get a month over half are substantiated and the department intervenes.

"From there will make a decision on whether that child can stay in the home," Hawkins said.

CPS says you don’t have to have proof to call the hotline.

“Their information is anonymous so they don’t have to give their name or telephone numbers," Hawkins said.

Experts say child abuse is most deadly for kids under 5 because there are no teachers or other mandated reporters to speak up for the child.

"Children who are under the age of five sometimes they are at home so they are not being seen by day care providers or teachers," Hawkins said.

So ask yourself this question: is there a child you know that may be abused or neglected?

If so, call the 24 hour child abuse hotline at 661-631-6011.

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