Child Protective Investigations Section
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse:
Florida law requires any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child�s welfare or that a child is in need of supervision and care and has no parent, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative known and available to provide care to report their knowledge or suspicion to the Florida Abuse Hotline.
Effective October 01, 2012 Florida law now requires any person who knows, or who has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused by an adult other than a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child�s welfare to also report such knowledge or suspicion to the Florida Abuse Hotline.
To report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect:
- Call the Florida Child Abuse Hotline directly at: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)
- Submit electronically at DCF website: http://www.myflfamilies.com/
- Submit report by facsimile (fax) at: 1-800-914-0004
Stressed by parenting? Don't direct your anger at your child. Get confidential help from "First Call for Help." Dial 2-1-1 or (954) 537-0211. More information is available at www.211-broward.org.
When a reported concern of suspected child abuse, neglect or abandonment by a caregiver or other person responsible for a child is received in Broward County, the Broward Sheriff's Office investigates the allegation in the specialized unit, Child Protective Investigations Section (CPIS). Because Broward ranks high among Florida counties for the number of abuse reports received monthly, extensive resources and collaborations have been devoted to this section including 94 investigators, 16 supervisors, 4 managers and 32 support personnel.
The cases are referred to BSO by the Florida Abuse Hotline which is operated by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Each investigation is conducted jointly with local law enforcement as defined in longstanding Memorandum of Understandings executed with local police municipalities. Specially trained child protective investigators focus on child safety issues, while the law enforcement personnel investigate any criminal aspects to the case.
BSO CPIS incorporates on-site multi-agency assistance to immediately address specific frequently encountered detrimental family issues such as substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence that may be an underlying factor in resolving the harm, neglect or abuse. Additionally, BSO CPIS uses the Broward County Sexual Assault Treatment Center / Child Advocacy Center for medical exams and other related enhanced evaluative and investigative assistance.
Additionally, BSO relies greatly on an extensive collection of community partners to intervene with referred families that need ongoing family support and family strengthening services. Families are assessed for service needs during an investigation. Annually thousands of families are referred by BSO CPIS for voluntary service assistance intended to improve parenting capacities and strengthen family functioning with a focus on enhancing child safety. Even if abuse isn�t confirmed by BSO, many families that are met may have identified service needs and are offered such assistance.
When a victim child must be removed from a home, the section's first choice is placement with a willing and capable relative, offering a safe and caring environment. If that isn't possible, out-of-home placement is arranged by the local community-based care provider, ChildNet, located adjacent to the BSO CPIS office. They locate an appropriate foster home placement within hours. These cases are directly referred to the local juvenile dependency court system.
If it is determined a child was a victim of abuse or neglect, but circumstances indicate the child is able to remain safely in the home BSO may refer the family to a contracted provider funded by the Children�s Services Council of Broward for intensive in-home service intervention. In other instances the child protective investigator may determine the filing of a petition for adjudication of dependency with the court is in the best interest for ensuring compliance to needed supervision and services with the family.
The Broward Sheriff's Office has full responsibility for all county child protective investigations and operates under a multi-year Grant agreement with the Florida Department of Children and Families since 1999.
You can contact the Child Protective Investigations Section at (954) 797-5299
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During the course of her career, Ms. Gorsuch has been a tireless advocate for children and families. She began her professional life in Ohio as a front-line caseworker, and over the years has held positions of increasing responsibility conducting research, developing public policy, and serving in numerous executive management roles in Florida. Ms. Gorsuch has worked in almost every aspect of social services, and has championed successful prevention policies and programs in the fields of juvenile justice, child welfare, and substance abuse and mental health.
Prior to joining BSO, Ms. Gorsuch was Deputy Regional Managing Director at the Florida Department of Children and Families.