Reporting

Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

We all have a shared responsibility to protect minors at USC. Therefore, all members of the USC community who observe, have knowledge of, or have reasonable suspicion that a child has been or is in danger of abuse or neglect are to report the matter to the proper external agencies and university officials as described below.

If there is an imminent threat to safety, contact 911.

Number 1 in a circle

Immediately report the matter to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or local law enforcement (e.g., LAPD)

(available 24 hours, 7 days per week)

Number 2 in a circle

Within 36 hours of the initial telephone report, file a written report with DCFS by completing and submitting Form SS8572 (Suspected Child Abuse Report or “SCAR”) as indicated during the call

Number 3 in a circle

Submit notice to USC’s
Office of Youth Protection
and Programming

While reporting to the Office of Youth Protection and Programming that a report has been made to DCFS is required, you are not required to disclose your identity to the university in doing so.

Complete the online form

Reporting other serious concerns, incidents and violations relating to minors

Other serious concerns, incidents and violations relating to minors that may not seem to rise to the level of known or suspected abuse are to also be reported to the Office of Youth Protection and Programing. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Serious injuries, accidents, etc. involving minors
  • Medical or mental health emergencies (subject to any medical confidentiality requirements)
  • Near misses (e.g., a situation that could have resulted in a serious accident or injury)
  • Inappropriate behavior, including grooming behavior or boundary violations
  • Misconduct between minors
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Violations of the Protecting Minors policy or USC’s Guidelines for Interacting with Minors

These types of concerns can be reported as follows: 

Submit a notice of concern (with the option to report anonymously) to the Office of Youth Protection and Programming directly  

OR 

Call the Office of Youth Protection and Programming at (213) 740-0262

How to report other serious concerns, incidents or violations relating to minors

These types of concerns can be reported by submitting a notice of concern or calling the Office Youth Protection and Programming.

Frequently asked questions about reporting child abuse or neglect

Below are the most frequently asked questions about what conduct may be considered child abuse or neglect, when to report to external agencies, and what happens during the reporting process. If you have additional questions about your obligation to report or what you should do in a situation where child abuse, neglect, or other misconduct is suspected, please contact the Office of Youth Protection and Programming.

What is “reasonable suspicion?” 

“Reasonable suspicion” means that most people, given the same facts and information, would suspect child abuse or neglect. Hard proof or certainty is not needed to make a report. 

What type of conduct is reportable? 

Child abuse or neglect, including: 

  • Physical injury or death; 
  • Sexual abuse or exploitation; 
  • Neglect; 
  • The willful harming or injuring of a child (includes unjustifiable mental suffering) or the endangering of the person or health of a child; and  
  • Unlawful corporal punishment.  

For specific definitions of what conduct meets the definition of abuse or neglect under CANRA see California Penal Code §11165.1-11165.6. 

What safeguards are in place for individuals who make a report of child abuse or neglect? 

Callers can make a report to DCFS and remain anonymous, except for mandated reporters. And although mandated reporters must provide their name when making a report, their identity and the content of the report is confidential and may only be disclosed to specified persons and agencies. Additionally, anyone who reports child abuse in good faith is protected by law from civil or criminal liability.

What happens if I do not make a mandatory report? 

By reporting child abuse or neglect, you may prevent a child from experiencing abuse or further harm. Failure to make the required reports is a serious neglect of duty, which may subject an individual to university disciplinary action and/or criminal penalties under the law. 

What happens after I report to DCFS? 

When DCFS receives a report, they will determine whether it meets the requirements of an investigation according to the law. If it does, a thorough investigation will be conducted to assess child safety and ensure the well-being of the child. For more information about what happens after a call is made, visit: dcfs.lacounty.gov/parents/investigations/ 

For additional information about reporting child abuse and neglect, the California Department of Social Services provides a helpful Frequently Asked Questions section.