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Reporting Process

Who do I call?

If you suspect a child was abused or neglected, immediately contact the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) hotline. As of September 1, 2020 all reports of sexual abuse should be made to both OCS and to law enforcement. You can call at any time, any day of the week. The OCS hotline is open 24/7.

Care enough to call: 1-800-478-4444
or Fax: 907-269-3939

If you are unable to reach OCS immediately or within no later than 24 hours, you must contact the law enforcement agency responsible for your area. And again, reports of sexual abuse should be made to both OCS and to law enforcement.

In an emergency situation where the child is facing an immediate danger, you should call 911, or the nearest law enforcement agency, and take whatever actions you can without putting yourself at risk of harm to make the child safe until authorities take over.

 Who do I call?

Video: Who do I call?

In this video a reporter describes an incident from the point of time when the child discloses to the time of reporting, as well as follow-up actions by the reporter, the Alaska State Troopers and the protective family members of the child victim.

Additional Requirements Relating to Mandated Reporters who Report Suspected Sexual Offenses

Effective September 1, 2020 State law (A.S. 47.17.020(a)) will require all mandated reporters, who make a report of suspected sex offenses to OCS, to additionally report the harm to the nearest law enforcement agency.

Additional Requirements Relating to Those Working with Alaska Native and American Indian Children

In addition to state law, federal law (25 U.S.C. 3202, 18 U.S.C. 1169) requires mandatory reporters in Tribal communities and those who work for Tribal organizations to report to local law enforcement or child protection.

Mandatory reporters may also need to report to Tribal authorities where such a protocol has been established between your organization and the Tribe involved. You should follow your organization's internal policies regarding contacting Tribal authorities.

Follow the protocols or policies of your own organization regarding reporting child abuse or neglect internally within your organization. Whether or not this is addressed in your agency, please keep in mind:

  • The information regarding suspected abuse or neglect is considered confidential information, and should only be disclosed to those who are entitled to know the information in accordance with your organization's own internal policies.
  • State law (A.S. 47.17.020 (g)) and federal law (25 U.S.C.  3202, 18 U.S.C. 1169) provides that a person who makes the report to their supervisor or another person working for their organization is not relieved of the obligation to make the report to the OCS or law enforcement.
  • Follow your organization's internal policies regarding documenting the abuse or neglect. In general, you should keep a written record of what happened for you to refer to if you are required to testify, as your testimony may not occur until long after your initial report.

What Information Will I Need?

When you call to report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, the OCS worker will want to know all the information listed below. Please be prepared to give as much information as possible to OCS.

  • Name, age, date of birth, gender, ethnic heritage/race and current address of the child, and if known the child’s Alaska Native or American Indian Tribal Affiliation
  • The location of everyone involved at the time the report is made
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of parents, out of home parents, and the child’s siblings
  • Name, Address, Phone Numbers of the person suspected for maltreatment
  • The details of the primary concern, how often it is happening and how severe is it? Did you witness it and if so, when?
  • Was there an incident or situation that led to the report?
  • Any action taken by reporter (or others)
  • Names of individuals and their contact information who might have more information
  • The names, addresses and phone numbers of others who have knowledge of the incident or situation
  • Anonymous reports are also acceptable (mandatory reporters must provide their name and contact information so it can be verified that they reported)

Please also provide to OCS any documents that support the facts of the report.

Video: What information will I need?

In this video an OCS Intake Supervisor describes the information that is helpful to OCS when a report is made and the advice he often gives to reporters regarding what to remember to report and what to look for when they think a child may have been abused.

What NOT to Do

It is important to provide OCS and law enforcement accurate information. At the same time there are some things that mandatory reporters and anyone reporting neglect or abuse should not do:

  • Do not investigate the situation yourself
  • Do not question or interview the child about the abuse
  • If the child has made a statement do not paraphrase or change it — use exactly the words the child has said
  • Do not bargain with the child or bribe the child to disclose something
  • Do not report only to your supervisor (that does not relieve you of your reporting duties), you are still mandated to report.
  • You are not required to notify the parent that you are reporting to OCS
  • Do not make the report in a public place where others can overhear you
  • Do not share the information in the report with others in the community
  • If a child discloses to you or gives you information, do not promise to keep it secret

What Can I Expect When I Call OCS?

OCS receives your information and screens the case to evaluate the situation and prioritize the case. The OCS assessment includes face-to-face contact with the child, parent(s), caretaker(s), sibling(s) and others residing in the household as well as others who have relevant information. The OCS worker may not be able to tell you what action will be taken or how quickly because information about the case is confidential. A report to OCS may result in services for the family, without the need for long-term intervention.

Sometimes the situation may require that children are removed from the parent's care, placed into state custody, and placed with temporary caregivers to protect them from further harm. If this step is required, OCS will initiate a Child in Need of Aid (CINA) case in state court. The priority is to work with families to help reunify children with parents once the situation is no longer harmful to the children. If that is not possible, OCS’s priority becomes finding a permanent home for the children. In extreme cases, this may require termination of the parent’s rights and adoption of the children.

In the event of an emergency involving an imminent danger or imminent risk of harm, OCS may coordinate a joint response with law enforcement. Law enforcement investigates potential criminal violations. Some abuse or neglect may involve both OCS through a Child in Need of Aid case, and law enforcement through a criminal investigation for a criminal prosecution.

Information about OCS Intake

The Intake Unit screens reports of alleged child abuse and neglect and reports of children at risk of harm due to child abuse and neglect. The reported information is documented in a Protective Services Report (PSR) within the agency’s automated case management system, ORCA.

Intake screens the information and determines if a safety assessment is needed to determine if a child is safe in his or her home.

For more information about Intake:

PDFOCS Intake Program Description

Is the Report Confidential?

OCS cannot reveal the name of a person who reports suspected child abuse and neglect. The reporter’s name remains confidential — unless a court determines that the information is necessary to decide an issue. However, the court almost never requires this information, and in most cases the reporter’s information is kept confidential and protected by OCS.

Anonymous reports are accepted from anyone. At the same time, it can be helpful for OCS to have your name and contact information in case they need to call you back for more information about the family or if there are new concerns that require follow up.

Mandated reporters should provide OCS with their name in order to document that they have met their legal mandate.

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