Erie County child protective services investigates reports alleging child abuse or neglect. The purpose of Child Protective Services [CPS] is to ensure that children are safe and to prevent any future abuse or neglect through the provision of supportive services. CPS protects children from physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse by their parents and caretakers. CPS also helps families obtain needed services to guarantee their children are safe from harm.
When a child is not safe at home, placement of the child outside the home will be considered. The child's placement may be done on a voluntary basis, with the parent's approval, or on a non-voluntary basis, at the direction of the court.
Once a child is determined to be safe, an evaluation of risk or likelihood of future neglect is made. It is then ascertained if any services are needed to ensure that this risk is minimized.
What is considered maltreatment/neglect?
Maltreatment is defined as a child younger than 18 years old whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired, or is likely to be impaired as a result of a parent or the person legally responsible for the child failing to exercise a minimum degree of care in:
- Supplying the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care;
- Providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship;
- Unreasonably inflicting, or allowing to be inflicted, harm or excessive corporal punishment;
- Using drugs or alcohol to the extent that the parent loses control of his/her actions.
What is considered abuse?
An abused child is defined as a child younger than 18 years old whose parent or person legally responsible for his/her care:
- Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child serious physical injury by other than accidental means; or
- Creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of such injury; or
- Commits or allows to be committed against the child a sexual offense as defined in the penal law.
How do I report abuse or neglect?
If you have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being neglected or abused, please call the New York State Central Register at 1-800-342-3720.
If the information you provide meets the legal criteria for abuse or maltreatment, your report will be recorded and electronically forwarded to the Erie County Child Protective Services Division for investigation. A CPS worker will be assigned to meet with the family and assess the situation to ensure that the children are safe in the home. The name of the person making the report will be kept in confidence.
Hospital personnel, teachers, law enforcement officers, and social workers and members of certain other professions designated by New York State are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect and may be subject to legal consequences if they fail to do so. Mandated reporters should call 1-800-635-1522 with information.