The Sonoma County Child Protection Hotline receives more than 5,500 calls each year. Callers talk through their concerns, confidentially and anonymously, with child welfare professionals who can evaluate the child and family’s situation.
What Happens Next?
Some callers’ concernsdon’t reach the legal definitionof child abuse or neglect. The caller will be asked to monitor what s/he sees and call in again if they still have concerns. See these legal definitions of abuse and neglectand a list of some signs and red flags that may mean a child is being harmed.
Of the hotline reports investigated by our social workers,93% of the time children are safe to remain with their familieswith the help of social worker support and local services that create a safer home environment. Referrals can help families find safe housing,parenting classes and benefits to improve children's lives and health, such as money foodand low-cost medical care.
In about 7% of investigations, the children need to be moved to safety. They may temporarily stay with a relative or foster parents in the community or at the County emergency shelter,Valley of the Moon Children's Home. Each child receives needed physical, mental, medical and dental care. Most continue to go to their own schools every day. Supervised family visits keep family members connected and part of the child’s life.
Children are returned homewhen changes by the family make it safe for the child to do so. If home cannot become safe for the child, or parents choose to give up their parental rights, the County of Sonoma Superior Court may make the child eligible for adoption into a new forever family througha local foster care agency.