Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 19, 2011

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Make a Call and Protect a Child

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at:

Lincoln – Calls to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline are up by 18.6 percent over the past five years, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Calls reporting child abuse or neglect went from 24,173 in calendar year 2006 to 28,666 in 2010.

“In April, we remind people that we all have the power to make a call and protect a child,” said Todd Reckling, director of the DHHS Division of Children and Family Services. “I appreciate the public’s willingness to take action throughout the year and call the hotline or law enforcement to help ensure the children in their community are safe.”

There were 3,404 substantiated instances of child abuse and neglect involving 5,169 children in calendar year 2010. A case often involves multiple types of maltreatment.

Possible warning signs that a child might be abused or neglect include:

  • Not having enough food or clothing or a safe place to live;
  • Having unexplained or repeated injuries like bruises, welts or cuts;
  • Leaving a child under age six unattended; or
  • Not providing the supervision needed to keep a child safe.

Suspected child abuse or neglect can be reported to the hotline at 1-800-652-1999, to law enforcement or to a local DHHS office. Any emergency situation should be reported immediately to local law enforcement.

“The hotline at 1-800-652-1999 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Todd Reckling, director of the DHHS Division of Children and Family Services. “Reporters are not required to give their name, but it’s helpful to have so we can get more information later, if necessary.”

Only law enforcement or the courts have the authority to remove children from their homes. The Department and law enforcement work together on reports of abuse or neglect, and law enforcement may also do an investigation. Due to the confidential nature of the investigation, the person who reports the abuse can’t be informed of the action taken or the results of the report.

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