Every state has a social services department that is responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect. In Mississippi and many other states, this agency is called Child Protection Services or Child Protective Services (CPS), but other states might call it the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or something similar. Some groups of people, like teachers and nurses, are mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. But anyone can report child abuse and neglect by calling CPS.
It can be hard to know when you should call CPS. Fear of interfering in someone else’s life or making a false accusation makes some people hesitant to call CPS. But think about what is at stake: a child’s physical safety, and maybe even their life. The most important advice is to follow your gut instinct. If you think something should be reported to CPS, it probably should be.
What Types of Things Should Be Reported to CPS?