Department of Family Services - Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Oriane Eriksen,

Report Child Abuse

Our HOTLINE is a HELP Line

Fairfax County Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline 703-324-7400, TTY 711

We all need help taking care of our children. Please call if you:

  • are concerned about a child's well-being.
  • want to report or discuss a possible abuse or neglect situation.
  • want advice, counseling, resources or help.

Mandated Reporter Tips

These tips are intended to provide a reference for mandatory reporters when making a Child Protective Services (CPS) report; the information provided in these tips should not be used to determine whether a report to  CPS should be made. As a reminder, mandatory reporters shall report suspicion of child abuse or child neglect immediately (Code of Virginia, 63.2-1509) and it is not the complainant’s task to substantiate the abuse.

1 - Preparing to Make a Report

a. An adult should speak with the child in a private location, preferably in their native language.

b. Gather facts.

  • What type of abuse/neglect happened?
  • Was there an injury?
  • What is the shape, color and size of the injury?
  • Where did it happen? When did it happen?
  • Who is the alleged abuser and their relationship to the child?

c. Information provided should be behaviorally-focused, fact-based.

  • Behaviorally-focused: Be prepared to describe the child’s emotional and physical reaction.
  • Fact-based: Be prepared to report directly what was shared by the child or directly observed.

d. Prepare family’s demographic information for all known household members (Names, date of births, addresses, updated phone numbers, language preferences, culture, race and ethnicity).

2 - Making a Report

Make the report as soon as you learn of the concerns.

Leave a phone number where you can be reached after business hours.

a. If you call outside of Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. your call will be taken by the State hotline and the local on-call worker may contact you for additional information.

b. Below are common domains that you will be asked when making a report.

  • Details of the facts gathered when speaking with the victim child.
  • Who last saw child?
  • Condition of child.
  • Where child is located now?
  • Whereabouts of caretaker and/or alleged abuser.
  • Alleged abuser/neglector’s access to child.
  • Family support system.
  • Condition of home environment.
  • Medical or mental health treatment needed.
  • Prior child maltreatment.
  • Current or past DV.
  • Access to weapons.
  • Current or past substance abuse.
  • Mental or physical disabilities.
  • Medical diagnoses.
  • Human trafficking.
  • Family’s military affiliation.
  • Native American Heritage.
  • Things that may complicate the family situation.
  • Things working well in the family (strengths).

3 - After the Report Has Been Made

  • The complainant will receive a call from a CPS hotline staff informing of the screening decision. If the call was screened-in, the assigned CPS specialist may contact the complainant for additional information regarding the family.
  • No further information can be shared about the family unless the family signs a release of information form.
  • The complainant will receive a letter acknowledging the closure of the assessment/investigation at its conclusion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Child Protective Services (CPS)

If I think a child is being abused or neglected, what should I do?

If you:

  • are concerned about a child's well being
  • would like advice, counseling, resources or help for yourself or others

call Fairfax County's Child Protective Services (CPS) hotline 703-324-7400.

You may give your name or remain anonymous.

If I give my name, will it be released to anyone?

If you choose to leave your name, it will be kept confidential.

What happens when I call the CPS hotline?

You'll be connected to a CPS hotline social worker who will ask questions to determine if the situation you're reporting requires further attention. If so, a CPS social worker will respond to the situation.

Will the child be removed from the home?

A child is removed from the home only as a last resort. As defined in Virginia law, this would be when there is "imminent threat to the life or health of the child." In such cases, CPS social workers do not act alone. They must have court approval to remove a child from a parent's custody. Usually, approval occurs before the child is removed, however, in extreme emergencies, the court may approve after the removal.

What happens to a child when they are removed from the home?

Every attempt is made to place the child with family members or relatives. If that is not possible, the child is placed in a temporary foster home.

Does CPS become involved in child custody or visitation disputes?

CPS becomes involved only when there is a legitimate complaint that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect by the child's caretaker (parent, guardian, etc.).

At what age can a child be left alone and for how long?

Children 7 and under should not be left alone for any period of time. CPS has published Child Supervision Guidelines which provides information on when a child may be left unsupervised.

What types of abuse does CPS investigate?

CPS investigates suspected incidents of physical abuse and neglect; mental or emotional abuse; medical neglect; and sexual abuse by a child's caretaker (parent, guardian, etc.).

How are you able to work with people who do not speak English?

Many of our social workers are bilingual. We also use interpreters from community organizations specializing in multicultural services. In addition, some of our written materials are printed in other languages.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant