Department of Family Services – Children, Youth and Families

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Oriane Eriksen

Report Child Abuse

To report suspected child abuse, please call the Fairfax County DFS 24/7 CPS Hotline at 703-324-7400, or use the online Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Mandated Reporter Portal. If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Report Child AbuseNot sure about reporting Child Abuse or Neglect?*

It’s often really hard to know if a child is being harmed. Sometimes we may see it happening with our own eyes, but other times we may only see signs of what could be happening. Learn more information about what to consider if you suspect child abuse, how to make a report, and resources to help

Frequently Asked Questions

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

You may give your name or remain anonymous.

If you choose to leave your name, it will be kept confidential. If you do identify yourself, the local department of social services will be able to contact you for further information if needed and will be able to inform you of actions that were taken.

You'll be connected to a CPS hotline social worker who will ask questions to determine if the situation meets state determined criteria for response. If so, a CPS social worker will respond to the situation.

A child is separated 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 separate a child from a parent's custody. Usually, approval occurs before the child is separated, however, in extreme emergencies, the court may approve after the separation.

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

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.).

Children 8 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.

CPS assesses and 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.) that meets the state defined criteria. 

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.

The Virginia Department of Social Services provides more information about a statewide CPS policies and procedures.

The Parent Support Line (703-324-7200) is available to all caregivers to help connect them with resources aimed at improving their parenting skills and overall circumstances.

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 necessary for the reporter to have proof of abuse or neglect. Review the list of all legally required mandatory reporters.

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

b. Gather facts.

  • What happened?
  • Was there an injury?
  • What is the shape, color and size of the injury?
  • Where did it happen? When did it happen?
  • Who or what caused the injury and what is 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).

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

Call the Fairfax County DFS 24/7 CPS Hotline at 703-324-7400 or use the online Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Mandated Reporter Portal.

a. If you use the online portal, data from the mandated reporter portal "transmits" the information to VDSS Hotline staff.

b. If you call outside of Monday-Friday 8 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.

c. 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 domestic violence. 
  • 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).

  • 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. 

Download the Mandated Reporter Tip Sheet.*

* Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-7500 or TTY 711.

Join our team!

stock image of employeesIf you have an interest in helping children and families to thrive, come work with our Children, Youth and Families Division. Check out some of our open positions.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant