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Advocate Tip:  Dealing with Allegations of Abuse

Dealing with Allegations of Abuse

Working as a CASA Advocate often involves developing a trusting relationship with the children involved in the case. As this relationship develops and children become more trusting of their Advocates, they can sometimes make outcries of abuse. When these outcries occur, it’s important for Advocates to respond appropriately and understand the steps to take to have these outcries addressed. 

Outcries of Past Abuse/Neglect

When talking with the children on your case, they may sometimes discuss things that happened when they were living with their parents. As an Advocate, it can be difficult to know whether an outcry of previous abuse has been reported or investigated by CPS. It is essential that any suspicion of abuse or neglect be reported to CPS. Advocates should contact the CPS caseworker to inform them of the reports made by the children and make a report to the Child Abuse hotline. Advocates should also contact their CASA Supervisor to inform them of the outcries made by the children. As an Advocate, it is always important to listen to what the children have to say and validate their feelings regarding the abuse/neglect they experienced. 

Outcries of Current Abuse/Neglect

When children are placed in CPS care, the intention is to provide them with a safe home, free from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, children are sometimes placed in the care of individuals who subsequently abuse/neglect them. When children make outcries of current abuse/neglect, it is important to validate the child’s feelings and let them know that you have listened to what they have to say. Advocates should not question children about any allegations of abuse/neglect and should not try to investigate any allegations the children have made. A report should be made to the Child Abuse hotline as soon as possible after the child has made an allegation. Advocates should also contact their CASA Supervisor and CPS caseworker to inform them of the new allegations. In some cases, an Advocate may only suspect that a child is being abused/neglected in their current placement even though the child has not made an outcry. In these situations, an Advocate should contact their CASA Supervisor and make a report to the Child Abuse hotline. Advocates should make sure to record the intake number when a referral is made to the hotline and provide it to the CPS caseworker.  

  1. What should Advocates do when a child talks about abuse that occurred when they lived with their parent?
  2. Who should Advocates notify about allegations of abuse made by a child?
  3. True or False. Advocates should ask the child for specific details about the reported abuse/neglect.

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Elisabeth Reise at