By: Megan Eckles (Therapist/Training Specialsit)
What are the facts?
- 1 in 7 children experienced abuse of neglect within the last year (CDC, 2022).
- In 2020 Georgia ranked 38th in the nation for child well-being (Georgia Division of Family and Children Services).
Types of Abuse
- Physical Abuse: injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker other than by accidental means
- Neglect: parent or caretaker allows a child to experience avoidable suffering or fails to provide basic essentials for physical, social, and emotional development
- Emotional Abuse: parent or caretaker creates a negative emotional atmosphere for the child
- Sexual Abuse: any adult or older or more powerful child employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in any form of sexual intercourse
- Endangering a Child: a person intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence, and/or a person knows that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence (Georgia Division of Family and Children Services).
Warning Signs of Abuse
Mayo Clinic notes multiple signs and symptoms of abuse.
- Withdrawal from friends or usual activities
- Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance
- Depression, anxiety or unusual fears, or a sudden loss of self-confidence
- An apparent lack of supervision
- Frequent absences from school
- Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn’t want to go home
- Attempts at running away
- Rebellious or defiant behavior
- Self-harm or attempts at suicide
What can I do?
As a mandated reporter, you are required to make a DFCS report. According to GA law, failure to report abuse can be found guilty of a misdemeanor.
How to Report:
Child abuse and/or neglect reports are taken 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A report can be submitted on online via the portal or by paper and faxed in.
1.855.GACHILD (+1 855-422-4453)
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services: https://dfcs.georgia.gov