Reporting Child Abuse

Reporting child abuse is everyone’s responsibility. Children need us to pay attention to some of the common warning signs of child abuse and neglect.  To report suspected child abuse and neglect, contact the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.  In case of an emergency or life-threatening situation, call 911.

Centralized Intake is one point of entry for all reports of suspected abuse and neglect for all children and vulnerable adults. It is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Professional, trained intake specialists will conduct guided interviews to assist the caller in providing critical information needed to assess the situation.

What information do I need to provide when calling Centralized Intake?

  • Demographic information
  • Type of abuse or neglect suspected
  • Is the child/adult in imminent danger?
  • Location of the child/adult and caregivers
  • Is there a protective caregiver present?
  • Does the alleged perpetrator have access to the child/adult?
  • General functioning of child/adult and caregivers
  • Any safety threats for first responders

Mandated reporting:

Who is a “Mandated” reporter of child abuse and neglect? 

Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter. Tennessee Code Annotated 37-1-403(i) (1) requires all persons to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. “Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality abuse, or neglect or that, on basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect.”


What is Imminent Danger?

Imminent danger is defined as an emergency situation in which the welfare or life of the child is threatened. Such an emergency situation exists when there is reasonable cause to believe that any of the following conditions threaten the health or life of any child in the home:

  • Non accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling, babysitter or other caretaker which can include intentionally inflicted major bodily damage such as broken bones, major burns or lacerations or bodily beatings. This condition also includes the medical diagnosis of battered child syndrome which is a combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse; or
  • Sexually abused or sexually exploited; or
  • Nutritional deprivation; or
  • Abandonment by the parents, guardian or custodian; or
  • Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease; or
  • Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or
  • Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian; or
  • The parent, guardian or custodian’s abuse of alcohol, or drugs or other controlled substance has impaired his or her parenting skills to a degree as to pose an imminent risk to a child’s health or safety.

Reporting Child Abuse in Tennessee

Call the Child Abuse Hotline to report child abuse or neglect in the State of Tennessee at 877-237-0004

Visit the Tennessee Department of Children’s Service website:  (