In the event of an emergency - call 911 or your local emergency response number

 

I am looking after a baby/child and I'm feeling frustrated

Parental Stress Line -- A 24-hour hotline in Massachusetts
1-800-632-8188

When the stress of parenting becomes too much, turn to the Parental Stress Line for support and guidance. A 24-hour hotline, the Parental Stress Line is staffed by trained volunteer telephone counselors who care and are concerned about the preservation of families.

Childhelp's National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) (24 hours a day)

The Childhelp USA® National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. The hotline is staffed 24 hours daily with professional crisis counselors who utilize a database of 55,000 resources. Communication in 140 languages is available through state-of-the-art technology that also makes possible three-way conversations with the counselor, the caller, and the nearest assistance. Call if you need help or would like to talk with someone, or if you want to report child abuse or need information about making a report.

 

I know of a child being hurt, treated badly, or neglected and I'd like to report it

Under Massachusetts law, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency that receives all reports of suspected abuse and/or neglect of children under the age of 18. The Department is responsible for protecting children from abuse and/or neglect and seeks to ensure that each child has a safe, nurturing, permanent home. The DCF website provides extensive materials explaining what child abuse/neglect is, how to report it, the process investigating reports.  To access this information go their website here.

On weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm: When you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you should immediately telephone the DCF Area Office serving the child's residence and ask for the Protective Screening Unit. Offices are staffed from 9 am to 5 pm. A list of area offices can be found here.

On weekends and after hours: Please call the Child-At-Risk Hotline at 1-800-792-5200 to report suspected child abuse or neglect happening in Massachusetts.

If you prefer not to call you can also report a suspected case by filling out this DCF reporting form and faxing it to one of the DCF area offices.

 

Childhelp's National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) (24 hours a day)

The Childhelp USA® National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. The hotline is staffed 24 hours daily with professional crisis counselors who utilize a database of 55,000 resources. Communication in 140 languages is available through state-of-the-art technology that also makes possible three-way conversations with the counselor, the caller, and the nearest assistance. Call if you need help or would like to talk with someone, or if you want to report child abuse or need information about making a report.

 

I believe a child is being neglected/abused and I've reported it but nothing is happening

If you have reported a suspected case of abuse or neglect to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families but nothing seems to be happening there are several possible reasons.  When DCF receives a report of a suspected case of abuse or neglect they follow a process to screen, assess and respond to that report. You can read more about the process here. One possible reason for "nothing happening" is that the case has been "screened-out" - meaning they do not have enough evidence to move forward.  Another possible reason is that while investigating DCF keeps information very private, for legal and safety reasons, and they may not be able to share information with the person that reported the abuse.

In the event that you have reported a  suspected case and DCF has come to a decision that you disagree with, first tell your social worker and that person's supervisor that you disagree with the decision.  Next, write a letter stating your disagreement and the facts as you seem them.  Send the letter to the worker and supervisor and ask that it be added to your file.  If you believe that DCF didn’t follow its rules in deciding that a report of abuse and/or neglect was Supported after an investigation, you can request a Fair Hearing. This request must be submitted within 30 days after you receive the notice of the DCF decision. For detailed information or help in completing a fair hearing request, please call (617) 748-2030.  If there are other decisions or actions you disagree with, including the decisions after an Initial Assessment or Service Plan, you can initiate a Grievance Process by sending a written complaint within 30 days. You will need to describe the decision or conduct and the reason you are complaining, the date it happened, and add other information that supports your complaint. For detailed information or help in completing a grievance, please call (617) 748-2030.

If you need more help please contact a Child Advocacy Center near you.  The Massachusetts Children's Allience works with many programs throughout the state to ensure that children and families have access to high quality, comprehensive, specialized and culturally competent services.

 

I would like to find a Parent support group

Parents Helping Parents (PHP)
1-800-882-1250

A self-help program for parents who want to improve their relationships with their children. PHP relies on specially trained volunteers from professional health and human services to help guide discussions, suggest referrals to other services, and provide assistance when needed.

 

I have questions that I need to talk to someone about a specific issue.

To speak with someone right now:
Girls and Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000 (24 hours a day)

Callers talk to highly-trained, professional counselors who listen and give "right now" answers. They're sympathetic people who have expertise dealing with these and other problems: depression; suicide; running away; parenting problems; relationship concerns; physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; chemical dependency; mental health; anger; aggressive behavior.

The Parent Line (United Way of Massachusetts Bay)
1-617-421-1789

The Parent Line offers parents and other caregivers quick, up-to-date parenting information on everything from nutrition to discipline and pregnancy. After hearing a pre-recorded message, callers can choose to speak directly with one of our trained, volunteer specialists. Parent Line messages are available in both English and Spanish.

 

First Call for Help (United Way of Massachusetts Bay)
1-800-231-4377

First Call For Help provides information and resources to any caller who needs help but does not know where to turn. Using a database of over 3,000 up-to-date services, trained volunteer telephone counselors can locate resources for you and advocate with other agencies on your behalf. Information is available on support groups, employment, housing, fuel assistance, and many other basic family needs.

 

Health Helpline (Health Care for All)
1-800-272-4232

If you have questions or problems getting health care, call Health Care for All's Free Helpline. The Helpline answers people's questions about the health care system and provides information and makes referrals to appropriate resources. The Helpline is an independent consumer resource that is free and available to anyone. Para recibir información en español, llame al 617-350-6207.