What is the purpose of the program?
The Florida Abuse Hotline is the centralized operation responsible for receiving, analyzing, and assigning reports of alleged of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and special conditions for all children and vulnerable adults in Florida. The hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline also conducts criminal background checks on participants of reports, potential caregivers for children in out-of-home care, and for reunification purposes.
The hotline receives calls, faxes, and web-based reports from citizens and professionals with concerns of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of children or vulnerable adults. Individuals can contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE or 1-800-962-2873; fax a report to 1-800-914-0004; or report online
. A hotline counselor assesses the information provided by the caller and determines if the information provided meets statutory criteria for the department to conduct an investigation by a child protective investigator or adult protective investigator in the appropriate county office.
Who does the program serve?
The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts, screens, and refers reports of alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation for two vulnerable groups.
- Adults. Adults with disabilities and elders receive services through the Adult Protective Services Program. Clients include adults with physical and mental incapacities who are unable to protect themselves from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
- Children. Children who are abused and neglected receive services through the department's Family Safety Program. Clients include children who are alleged to have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, or who are in a situation of threatened harm due to acts or omissions of the parent, adult household member, or other household member responsible for the child's welfare.
How many calls does the program receive?
In Fiscal Year 2018-19, the hotline received 496,283 contacts.
|Contact Source || Number of Contacts |
|Total ||496,283 |
| || |
|Contact Type || Number of Contacts |
|Child ||354,502 |
|Adult ||126,268 |
|Total ||454,210 |
Source: Department of Children and Families.
The hotline also received 36,877 requests for referral information on services from the public and completed 570,254 criminal background checks.
How many calls were abandoned?
The Florida Abuse Hotline's abandoned call rate for Fiscal Year 2018-19 was 14%, which did not meet the legislative standard of 3%.
How are these activities funded?
The Florida Abuse Hotline is funded as part of the Family Safety Program budget entity.
The 2020 Legislature enacted two laws that create new communication requirements for Department of Children and Families (DCF) staff, law enforcement officers, and judges.
- Child Welfare. Chapter 2020-40, Laws of Florida, creates a communication process beginning March 1, 2021, to make information available to law enforcement agencies that a person is a parent or caregiver involved in the child welfare system, and requires an officer to contact the central abuse hotline if the office interacts with such a person and has concerns for a child's health, safety, or well-being.
- Child Welfare. Chapter 2020-138, Laws of Florida, requires DCF to notify judges of all central abuse hotline reports that are accepted for an investigation involving a child over whom the court has jurisdiction.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
Annual Report on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Florida, 2020, Report 20-05, July 2020
DCF and Its Lead Agencies Have Not Resolved Issues Related to Serving Commercially Sexually Exploited Children, Report 17-09, June 2017
Placement Challenges Persist for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation; Questions Regarding Effective Interventions and Outcomes Remain, Report 16-04, July 2016
State and Local Agencies Are in Initial Stages of Addressing Needs of Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Report 15-06, June 2015
Where can I get more information?
What are the applicable statutes?
Chapter 39 Part II and s. 415.103, Florida Statutes
Whom do I contact for help?
Department of Children and Families, 850-487-1111 or 1-800-96-ABUSE