Tennessee Law and Reporting Abuse
According to Tennessee law, ALL persons must report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. This includes doctors, police, teachers, parents, mental health professionals, child care providers, dentists, family members and friends.
In Tennessee, if you have “reasonable cause to believe” a child is being abused or neglected you must report that suspicion to the state Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement-and you are required by law to do it immediately. Failure to report is a misdemeanor.
Do not attempt to conduct your own investigation. Report your suspicions to the proper authorities. It is the role of the state Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement to investigate the report. However, all reports do not meet the criteria for investigation. If you suspect additional abuse after the initial report has been made, report that as well.
As a mandated reporter you are protected by the state in terms of liability and confidentiality. Reporters who “act in good faith” are immune from any civil or criminal liability.
For further information, please visit our Abuse Information & Answers page.
Reporting Child Abuse
Do you have knowledge or suspicion regarding child abuse or neglect?
In an extreme emergency, CALL 911!
Call the DCS 24-Hour Toll Free Hotline
Public Line: 1-877-237-0004
All calls are CONFIDENTIAL