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
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 volunteers who are trained to listen and have a conversation about how to make things better. Calls are confidential and anonymous. Volunteers are NOT mandated reporters.
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.
All reports of suspected child abuse or neglect must be phoned in to DCF. Please call immediately if you know of, or suspect, an incident of child abuse or neglect.
During regular business hours (8:45 a.m.-5 p.m. M-F) call the Department of Families and Children (DCF) area office that serves the city or town where the child lives.To report suspected abuse nights, weekends, and holidays, contact: Massachusetts Child Abuse Emergency Line at 800-792-5200 – 24 hours.
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 170 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 or text 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)
Locate an active Parent Support Group
A self-help program for parents who want to improve their relationships with their children. Parents Helping Parents' 24-hour hotline, The Parental Stress Line is staffed by volunteers who are trained to listen and have a conversation about how to make things better. Calls are confidential and anonymous. Volunteers are NOT mandated reporters.
I am a pre-teen, teen or young adult looking to talk to someone:
To speak with someone right now:
Your Life Your Voice National Hotline
1-800-448-3000 (24 hours a day)
Callers talk to highly-trained, professional counselors who listen and give "right now" answers. Counselors specialize in family reunification of runaways and homeless adolescents ages 11-17.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.
Pre-teens, teens and young adults can also text VOICE to 20121
I am an adult looking for other support or resources:
Simply dial 2-1-1 on your phone to be connected to someone who can help you find health and human services available in the community. Supported by United Way, Mass 2-1-1 serves as a resource for finding government benefits and services, nonprofit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities, donation programs, and other local resources. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or click to search the 2-1-1 database of available services.
Health Helpline (Health Care for All)
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.