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What constitutes child abuse and/or neglect?
"Abuse" or "child abuse or neglect" is defined in Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S) § 19-1-103. Child abuse or neglect means an act or omission in one of the following categories that threatens the health or welfare of a child:
  • Any case in which a child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling or death and either:


    • Such condition or death is not justifiably explained; the history given concerning such condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death

    • Circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an accidental occurrence



  • Any case in which a child is subjected to unlawful sexual behavior as defined in section 16-22-102 (9), C.R.S.

  • Any case in which a child is a child in need of services because the child's parents, legal guardian or custodian fails to take the same actions to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision that a prudent parent would take

  • Any case in which a child is subjected to emotional abuse. Emotional abuse in this section means identifiable and substantial impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development or a substantial risk of impairment of the child's intellectual or psychological functioning or development

  • Any case in which, in the presence of a child, or on the premises where a child is found, or where a child resides, a controlled substance (defined in C.R.S. 18-18-102 (5)) is manufactured or attempted to be manufactured

  • Any case in which a child tests positive at birth for either a schedule-I controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-204, C.R.S., unless the child tests positive for a schedule-II controlled substance as a result of the mother's lawful intake of such substance as prescribed



For additional information about how to identify child abuse, please visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website, a service of U.S. Department of Human Services, Administration for Children and Families' Children's Bureau or download a fact sheet about signs and symptoms.



If you suspect that a child is being harmed, you should report your concerns by calling the Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 720.887.2271.

HHS - Child Protection

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1. At what age is it appropriate to leave my child at home alone?
2. What constitutes child abuse and/or neglect?
3. Is homelessness a reason to remove a child from his or her parents?
4. If I make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, will my identity be protected?
5. Can I make an anonymous report of child abuse or neglect?
6. What persons are mandated by the state to report suspected child abuse or neglect and what are the penalties for failure to report?
7. When would it be necessary to remove a child from his or her home?
8. What is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)?
9. What is a guardian ad litem?