The Tennessee Department of Human Services has the responsibility for investigation of child abuse reports.  State law mandates that all persons – whether parents, childcare personnel, or others – have a legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse. 

Suspected child abuse is to be reported directly to the State of Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline (DHS) or to law enforcement.  DHS will conduct an investigation in cooperation with local law enforcement authorities and the district attorney to determine the validity of the report and a decision regarding further action.

In the initial stage of an investigation, the law allows DHS counselors to talk with children without prior parental permission (when it is believed to be necessary) and without child care (or school) personnel or parents present (when that procedure is necessary).

At the appropriate time, or if childcare personnel are suspected perpetrators of abuse, parents will be consulted.  The child’s best interest is the first consideration.

Questions or concerns about this procedure should be addressed to the local Department of Human Services.



To report child abuse or neglect call: