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Child Abuse Prevention California Department of Education website

The following information will assist parents and guardians in determining whether or not child abuse has occurred and, if so, how to file a complaint of child abuse with local law enforcement. This information has been taken from the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act in the California Penal Code and from sections of the California Education Code. 
Child abuse can be any of the following: 
•     A physical injury which is inflicted on a child by another person other than by accidental means. 
•     The sexual abuse, assault, or exploitation of a child. 
•     The negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare, whether the harm or threatened harm is from acts or omissions on the part of the responsible person. 
•     The willful infliction upon a child of any cruel or inhumane corporal punishment or any injury resulting in a traumatic condition. 
•     The willful harming or injuring of a child or endangering of the person or the health of a child where the person responsible for the child’s welfare is a licensee, administrator, or employee of any facility licensed to care for children or an administrator or employee of a public or private school or other institution or agency. 
Child abuse does not include: 
•     A mutual fight between minors; 
•     An injury that is caused by the actions of a peace officer using reasonable and necessary force within the scope of his or her employment; 
•     An injury caused by any force that is reasonable and necessary for a person employed by or engaged in a school: 
1.     To stop a disturbance threatening physical injury to people or damage to property; 
2.     For purposes of self-defense; 
3.     To obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects within control of a pupil; or  Child Abuse Reporting Procedures for Parents and Guardians 
4.     To exercise the degree of control reasonably necessary to maintain order, protect property, protect the health and safety of pupils, and maintain proper and appropriate conditions conducive to learning. 
Parents and guardians of pupils have the right to file a complaint against a school employee or other person that they suspect has engaged in abuse of a child at a school site. To file a complaint, the parent or guardian must file a formal report with an appropriate local law enforcementagency. An appropriate law enforcement agency may be one of the following: 
•     A Police or Sheriff’s Department (not including a school district police department or school security department) 
•     A County Probation Department if designated by the county to receive child abuse reports, or 
•     A County Welfare Department/County Child Protective Services 
The complaint may be filed over the telephone, in person, or in writing. A complaint may also be filed at the same time with your school district or county office of education. School districts and county offices of education, however, do not investigate child abuse allegations. The local law enforcement agency is required to investigate all complaints. In addition, if the child is disabled and enrolled in special education, a separate complaint may be filed by the parent or guardian with the California Department of Education (CDE) according to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations Section 4650(a)(vii)(c). The CDE does not, however, investigate allegations of child abuse but rather investigates the conditions that may involve immediate physical danger or threaten the health, safety, or welfare of the child or children or which may result in denial of a free and appropriate public education. If the complaint of child abuse is “substantiated” or confirmed by the local law enforcement agency, meaning that the report of child abuse or neglect, as determined by the law enforcement investigator who conducted the investigation, is, based upon the evidence, more likely to have occurred than not, then a report of the investigation will be transmitted by the law enforcement agency to the governing board of the local school district or County Office of Education. A confirmed report of child abuse or neglect received by a governing board of a school district or County Office of Education will be subject to the provisions of California Education Code section 44031, which gives school employees certain rights regarding personnel information and records. 

In addition, a confirmed report shall be forwarded by the law enforcement agency that investigated the complaint to the California Department of Justice according to California Penal Code Section 11169 and notice will be provided to the alleged child abuser that he or she has been reported to the Child Abuse Central Index, as maintained by the Department of Justice. This guidance is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement. Any portion of this guidance that is not supported by a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive pursuant to California Education Code Section 33308.5.

State of California Resources

Raising Kids - A great on-line magazine for parents and teacher

California State Standards and Frameworks: The California State Board of Education sets curriculum standards and frameworks in the areas of English-language arts, mathematics, science, history/social science, and visual and performing arts. These standards guide curriculum planning at the school district level. They identify what students learn at each grade level in major subject areas. They were developed by teachers, curriculum specialists, and administrators and faculty from colleges and universities. For more information, go to the California Department of Education website at:

California Law California Law consists of 29 codes, covering various subject areas, the State Constitution and Statutes. Information presented reflects laws currently in effect. All California Codes have been updated to include the 2010 Statutes.

Parent Involvement Resource Centers (PIRC)  Find out about state-developed resources to support parental involvement at schools.

State of California Resources by the state of California for Californians


California Department of Education The Core Purpose of the California Department of Education is to lead and support the continuous improvement of student achievement, with a specific focus on closing achievement gaps

California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

General: 916-319-0800
TTY/TDD: 916-445-4556

California State PTA The California State PTA (California Congress of Parents, Teachers, and Students, Inc.) is a branch of the National PTA, serving as a connecting link between the national organization and its membership within the state.

2327 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95816-5014
Ph: (916) 440-1985
Fax: (916) 440-1986


California Community Colleges

The System Office will deliver valuable human and financial resources to support college programs, research, policy development and the use of emerging technology throughout the California community colleges.

System Office
1102 Q Street, 4th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811
Ph: (916) 445-8752

IRIS strives to improve the lives of immigrants and all residents of Santa Clara County by recognizing and appreciating the contributions of immigrants, educating all Santa Clara County residents about the backgrounds, values, and life conditions of immigrants in Santa Clara County, and fostering multicultural community. By assessing and addressing the specific human needs of immigrants and by maximizing collaboration, IRIS seeks to enhance the potential and enrich the lives of all county residents.

2310 North First Street, Suite 104
San Jose, CA 95131

Ph: (408) 792-2300
Fax: (408) 297-2463


The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1976 to promote bilingual education and quality educational experiences for all students in California. CABE has 5,000 members with over 60 chapters/affiliates, all working to promote equity and student achievement for students with diverse cultural, racial, and linguistic backgrounds. CABE recognizes and honors the fact that we live in a rich multicultural, global society and that respect for diversity makes us a stronger state and nation.

16033 E. San Bernardino Road
Covina, CA 91722-3900
Ph: (626) 814-4441
Fax: (626) 814-4640

Federal Resources

U.S. Government Call 1 (800) FED INFO 1-800-333-4636) for any Question about Government

U.S. Department of Education

ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)
Spanish speakers available (se habla español)

TTY: 1-800-437-0833