Blogging: Interested in Blogging? We're currently looking for volunteer bloggers for the following categories: Foster Adoption and Foster Care. This may be the perfect time to voice your adoption experiences and share with our community.
Photolisting: Now is the perfect time to raise foster and adoption awareness. If you have your own blog or website, perhaps you would like to add our Photo Listing Widget to help raise awareness of foster children nationwide.
Would you like to help more children from your agency get adopted faster? Click here for a form to add children to our photolisting. This service is FREE to all states and includes a team of technical support and customer service staff to maintain the Photolisting.
Don't see any children from your state? Please contact your local officials to let them know you would like to see children from your state.
As a foster parent, you may be more aware of warning signs of child abuse and neglect than the average person. All of your experiences with abused and neglected children have probably seared them in your mind. As you get to know other foster parents and parents in general, you might also see a few red flags sprouting up every once in a while. When you do see these red flags, it's up to you to take action, even if you're not 100% sure there is abuse or neglect. When it comes to reporting abuse or neglect, here are some of your options:
Talk to the Child
Don't come out and ask if the child is being abused, as this can intimidate them. Instead, ask how they got that cut or the bruise or the broken bone. If they are being abused, they probably won't tell you right away, but talking to a child about an injury can help you better read the situation in general and the child's emotional state in regards to that injury. Don't make accusations. Just talk, and this will help the child understand that you're a safe person to talk to.
Talk to the Social Worker
If the child is in foster care and you know the child's social worker, contact them and voice your concerns. Again, don't make accusations, but tell the social worker what you've heard or seen. Remember, disclose just the facts. Don't exaggerate. If the child isn't being abused or neglected, exaggerated claims can destroy lives. Just be honest, upfront, and straightforward with the social worker. Get the social worker's take on the situation. Perhaps the broken arm was already reported, and it was from a fall at the playground.
Call the Police
If the child's life isn't immediately in danger, call the non-emergency number to talk to an officer. They will most likely file a report and they may want to meet with you in person. Just as you would with the social worker, be truthful and upfront. Once the police have all the details, they can investigate further.
Use the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
If you'd prefer anonymity, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. You can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it's currently available in the United States, U.S. territories, and Canada. When you call, you'll talk to professional crisis counselors who can help you identify possible child abuse and pass the information along to those who can take care of it.
Remember to always keep the best interest of the child in the forefront of your mind. It is your duty and responsibility as an adult to protect children. If you feel a child might be abused or neglected, report it. In some states, you could get in trouble for not reporting it if you knew beforehand. Even if you know the person you're about to report, move forward. Tell what you know and social workers and other professionals will do what's necessary to find the truth and help the child. It starts with you.
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