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Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

Posted October 26, 2021, 3:35 PM. Updated May 16, 2024, 3:01 PM.

A reminder that every person in New Mexico has an obligation to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child.

APS employees who reasonably suspect that a student is being abused or neglected must report the matter immediately to the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) or law enforcement. Call APS Police only if the alleged abuse occurred on a school campus. 

Report suspected child abuse or neglect by calling #SAFE (#7233) from a cell phone or 1-855-333-SAFE.

Employees aren't responsible for investigating allegations of abuse. Staff should avoid in-depth questioning. Leave that to CYFD and law enforcement. Instead, employees should gather just enough information to satisfy a reasonable suspicion that abuse occurred. Avoid asking leading questions. 

The APS procedural directive on Reporting Child Abuse, Neglect, or Education Neglect provides questioning guidelines for employees. 

As educators, we play a critical role in protecting the children in our care. As we always tell our students, If you see or hear something, say something.  

Warning Signs of Abuse & Neglect


Warning signs of emotional abuse in children

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong. Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive).
  • Doesn't seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver.
  • Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums).

Warning signs of physical abuse in children

  • Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
  • Is always watchful and "on alert," as if waiting for something bad to happen. Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
  • Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.

Warning signs of neglect in children

  • Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
  • Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor).
  • Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
  • Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
  • Is frequently late or missing from school.

Warning signs of sexual abuse in children

  • Trouble walking or sitting.
  • Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age or even seductive behavior.
  • Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person without an obvious reason. Doesn't want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
  • An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.
  • Runs away from home.
Tags: employees