Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

How to Report

Before reporting, you may find it helpful to review our Distinguishing Abuse from Accident document.

Any person making a report of child abuse or neglect may do so by telephoning, writing, or visiting the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services at (419) 447-5011 or 1-800-825-5011.

If you prefer, you can make a referral in writing or in person.  Click here for our hours and location.

For EMERGENCIES that occur after business hours, a social worker is “On Call” to respond to crisis situations as well as take reports of child abuse/neglect. To reach the on-call social worker, please call the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office (419-447-3456) and ask for the on-call social worker to be paged.

Reports may also be made to any municipal or county peace officer who will then immediately refer the report to the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services by the above stated methods.

Who may Report

“Anyone who knows or suspects that a child less than eighteen years of age or any crippled or otherwise physically or mentally handicapped child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any wound, injury, disability, or other conditions of such nature as to reasonably indicate abuse or neglect of the child may report or cause reports to be made of such information to the county department of Job and Family Services exercising the children services function, or to a municipal or county peace officer.” (Ohio Revised Code, Section 2151.421(B).

Who must Report (Mandated Reporters)

“Suspected” child abuse and neglect must be immediately reported by any:

  • Attorney
  • Physician (including a hospital intern or resident)
  • Dentist
  • Podiatrist
  • Practitioner of a limited branch of medicine or surgery
  • Registered or licensed practical nurse, visiting nurse
  • Other health care professionals
  • Licensed Psychologist
  • Licensed School Psychologist
  • Independent Marriage and Family Therapist or Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Audiologist
  • Coroner
  • Administrator or employee of a child day care center
  • Administrator or employee of a residential camp or child day camp
  • Administrator or employee of a certified child day care agency or other public or private children services agency
  • School Teacher, School Employees, or School Authority
  • Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Agent of a county humane society
  • Or person rendering spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with tenets of a well recognized religion, acting in his official or professional capacity.
  • Superintendent, board member or employee of a county board of mental retardation; investigative agent contracted with by a county board of mental retardation; or employee of the department of mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Penalty for the failure of a person required to report any suspected case of child abuse and/or neglect shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree as per the Ohio Revised Code Section 2151.421.

When any person acting in his official or professional capacity is mandated by Section 2151.421 for the Revised Code to immediately report alleged child abuse and neglect failed to do so, the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services shall give written notification of such failure to the county prosecutor. A copy of the written notification shall be retained in the case record, pursuant to Rule 5101:2-39-02 of the Administrative Code.

Photos

Any person who is required to report cases of abuse or neglect may take or cause to be taken color photographs and video tape or slides of areas of trauma visible on a child and, if medically indicated, cause to be performed radiological examinations of a child.

Immunity from Prosecution

Anyone or any hospital, institution, school, health department, or agency participating in the making of the reports, or anyone participating in a judicial proceeding shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of such actions, except when there is a reason to believe that the reporting source was a party to the abuse or neglect to the child. The physician-patient privilege shall not be a ground for excluding evidence regarding a child’s injuries, abuse or neglect, or the case thereof in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report submitted pursuant to Section 2151.421 of the ORC.

Confidentiality

Any report made under this section of the ORC is confidential, and any person who permits or encourages the unauthorized dissemination of its contents is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. (ORC 2151.99 and OAC 5101:2-34-38).

The identity of the reporter shall be considered confidential and shall only be released in accordance with OAC 5101:2-34-38. The reporter shall be informed by the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services that a subpoena for judicial testimony may be issued if court intervention is deemed necessary.

When any person commits, causes, permits or encourages unauthorized dissemination of information, the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services will give written notification of such unauthorized dissemination to the county prosecutor. A copy of the written notification shall be retained in the case record. Unauthorized dissemination of information is in violation of Section 2151.421(H) of the Revised Code. Confidentiality will be reflected in each agency’s individual policies for their respective agencies. In accordance with Section 2151.99, such a violation is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

What Happens After You Report Child Abuse/Neglect?