Department of Children and Families

Florida Abuse Hotline

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.

How is abuse reported?

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 2019-20, the hotline received 463,225 contacts.

Contact Source    Number of Contacts
Calls 381,196
Online 82,029
Total 463,225 
  
Contact Type   Number of Contacts
Child 303,772 
Adult 116,227 
Total 419,999

Source: Department of Children and Families.

The hotline also received 32,608 requests for referral information on services from the public and completed 497,437 criminal background checks.

How many calls were abandoned?

The Florida Abuse Hotline's abandoned call rate for Fiscal Year 2019-20 was 15.8%, 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.
Fiscal Year: 2022-23
Title Fund Dollars Positions
PROGRAM: FAMILY SAFETY PROGRAM
FAMILY SAFETY AND PRESERVATION SERVICES
1,918,557,353
3,864.00
TOTAL
1,918,557,353
3,864.00

Updates

Chapter 2021-170, Laws of Florida, reorganizes and clarifies reporting requirements and adds requirements relating to reporting, data collection, and analysis. The law imposes cross-reporting requirements for any person who is required to investigate child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to report known or suspected animal cruelty, and requires animal control officers to report any known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Additionally, the law requires the hotline to maintain and produce statistical reports relating to child abuse and sexual abuse that are reported from or occur in specified educational settings. 

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Annual Report on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Florida, 2022, Report 22-05, July 2022
Annual Report on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Florida, 2021, Report 21-06, July 2021
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

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
The Auditor General reports on department operations are located on its website.
Websites of Interest
Reporting Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation to the Florida Abuse Hotline

Child Welfare Information Gateway, Identification of Child Abuse and Neglect  

Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan and Planning and Performance Measures, which reports the department's performance on external and internal measures for its various programs. The measures allow the user to view performance at both a statewide and geographic region level.

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

Website