Child Abuse, Neglect and Human Trafficking

Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse is the physical or mental injury of a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member, under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed; or  sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not. Neglect is the leaving of a child unattended or other failure to give proper care and attention to a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of the child under circumstances that indicate: that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or placed at substantial risk of harm; or mental injury to the child or a substantial risk of mental injury. Neglect includes physical, educational, medical, and psychological/emotional neglect.

Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking in its most basic form is fraudulently, forcibly, or coercively using another for purposes of exploitation. There are two main types of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking.  Victims can come from all backgrounds and become trapped in different locations and situations. The majority of victims are women and girls, though men and boys are also impacted; they include all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, citizens, non-citizens, and income levels; they are trapped and controlled through assault, threats, false promises, perceived sense of protection, isolation, shaming, and debt; and they do not have to be physically transported between locations to be victimized. In general, human trafficking involves exploitation and the exchange of money.

Mandated Reporters

You are a mandated reporter if you are one of the following: health practitioner, educator or human service worker, any professional employee of any correctional, public, parochial or private educational, health, juvenile service, social or social service agency, institution, or licensed facility. Educator or human service worker includes: any teacher;  any counselor;  any social worker; any caseworker; any probation or parole office and any police officer. In schools mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, pupil personnel workers, behavior specialists, all teachers, all school staff (cafeteria, custodians, maintenance, school administrative assistants, SROs, volunteers, aides, etc).  If you work in a school in any capacity consider yourself a mandated reporter.

Reporting does NOT require PROOF that child abuse or neglect has occurred.

Please note that effective October 1, 2016, if a local department has reason to believe that a mandated reporter knowingly failed to make a report of suspected abuse or neglect of a child, the local department must file a complaint with the appropriate licensing board or employer of the mandated reporter. Anyone making a “good faith” report is immune from civil liability and criminal penalty.

Maryland’s Resource for Mandated Reporters:

Human Trafficking
National Human Trafficking Hotline -- 24/7 Confidential


Walter J. Sallee
Director, Student Services and Strategic Planning Branch
Office: (410) 767-0784

Child Abuse & Neglect

Child Abuse and Neglect Law and Regulation

Code of Maryland Regulations

Child Abuse & Neglect Resources

Child Abuse & Neglect Training Resources

If you know a child who is being hurt physically or sexually, call the hotlines below. Both hotlines are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and a counselor can tell you what to do.

Child Abuse Hotlines and Resources

  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
    Phone: 1-800-4-A-CHILD
  • The Family Tree, Incorporated
    Phone: 1-800-243-7337
  • Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline
    Phone: 1-800-422-0009
  • Prevent Child Abuse America
    Phone: 1-800-244-5373
  • Turnaround 24 Hour Hotline
    Phone: 410-828-6390
  • United Way of Central Maryland 2-1-1
    Phone: 211 or 1-800-492-0618