The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead and at least 53 injured on Friday was one of the deadliest in U.S. history.
Many are still reeling from the tragedy.
Here’s what you need to know about child services and how to handle the information after the tragedy has passed.
What do child services care for?
A child services agency can help a child find a parent, guardian, or other person to care for them.
These services may include parenting classes, counseling, medical appointments, and emergency referrals.
A child will be evaluated and if they need further support, the agency will refer them to another agency.
If the child is under the age of 18, a court-ordered protective order can be issued to protect them from harm.
Who can file a report?
If you or a loved one is under 18 years old, a report from your child service agency can be filed by contacting the Child Protective Services (CPS) division of your state’s Department of Human Services (DHS) or the local CPS office in your area.
Your child service agent will contact you by phone or email to explain what you should do.
You may be asked to provide a Social Security number, address, and proof of your birthdate.
CPS will then send you a notice to appear in court in order to have your child report to the agency.
What can CPS do after I report?
Once a child is confirmed to be under the care of CPS, you will have the option to report the child to the state child services office.
This is an internal investigation into the child and will include an interview with the child’s parent, the child care provider, and a psychologist.
If CPS determines that the child needs further counseling, they may refer you to a psychologist for further assessment.
If your child has been placed in a foster care home or a day care, the state can also refer the child back to a family court.
How long will the child report?
Children can report to their child services division no more than one year after the incident to allow time for a review of the report.
They must notify CPS within 10 days of the incident.
You can also send your child a copy of your child services report by email.
What if my child is a survivor?
If a child has already been interviewed by a child services official, the report will not be completed until a report is completed by a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If a survivor has been interviewed and CPS finds that the survivor was involved in the attack, the survivor will be referred to a mental health provider.
How do I contact the state’s child services?
Call the state CPS division of the state in which you live or in which your child is currently living at 1-800-772-HELP.
Callers can also call the statewide helpline (1-800/273-8255) for information about children and their families.
If you have questions about how to report a child to a child service or about a child in the care system, visit the Child Abuse Prevention Center (CAP) website.