Warning Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect – How to Report


Incidents of child abuse and neglect remain high in the Pikes Peak region. El Paso and Teller counties combined received over 14,000 reports of child abuse and neglect for several years in a row.

CASA is partnering with CO4Kids to bring awareness to this critical issue to raise awareness for the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Colorado.

Every citizen has a stake in the well-being of our children. CASA empowers citizens to stand up against abuse by volunteering or donating.

Other Ways to Help

  • Support families in crisis: As a community we can all help prevent child abuse by offering support to families in crisis.  Something as simple as offering to babysit your neighbor’s children may help — anything that will give a stressed parent a break.
  • Look for warning signs of abuse: The earlier child abuse is caught, the better the chance of recovery and appropriate treatment for the child. Child abuse is not always obvious. By learning some of the common warning signs of child abuse and neglect, you can catch the problem as early as possible and get both the child and the abuser the help that they need. A common myth is that an act against the child has to be violent to be considered abuse.  Emotional abuse can severely damage a child’s mental health or social development, leaving lifelong psychological scars. Child abuse FAQs.
  • Report Abuse: Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives, but we all can and should report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you think a child is being mistreated, take immediate action. Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Toll-Free Hotline: 1-844-CO-4-Kids (5437)

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 Important Local Resources for Parents

KPC Respite Center
KPC Respite Center offers temporary crisis and planned childcare for infants and young children at no cost to parents or guardians. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you will ever have.   KPC Respite Center is available to give parents a break when you need it most; if you are struggling to make critical appointments or need care for your child when there is no other safe choice. The crisis line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (719) 634-5439. 

Family Day Center at the Marion House
The Family Day Center, a collaboration between Catholic Charities of Central Colorado & Family Promise of Colorado Springs, provides services for families experiencing poverty, who are homeless, or on the verge of homelessness.  The FDC offers families a safe haven with opportunities to participate in adult and child enrichment activities throughout the day, receive services on-site, and referrals to other agencies as needed.

Parenting Matters of El Paso County  
Parenting Matters of El Paso County works with families, schools, and the community to organize and coordinate parenting education and resources to help families raise healthy, happy children. Providing classes, support groups, and resources for parents and professionals.

Center on Fathering
The Center provides a program which teaches dads to be more actively and positively involved in their child’s development.  They also have a program called Conflict-Resolution for Dads which gives dads a unique, father-oriented way to deal with conflict in their lives.

Pikes Peak United Way 2-1-1
2-1-1 is the free, bilingual, three-digit phone number to help families find health and human service providers in the community. Trained information specialists staff the hotline from 8a.m. to 5p.m. Monday through Friday utilizing a comprehensive database of over 7,200 resources including federal, state, and local government agencies, private non-profits, as well as faith and community-based organizations.

Video: Abusive Head Trauma Prevention
University of Colorado Health – Memorial Hospital shaken baby syndrome prevention: Crying Baby Plan video.

Video: Parenting is Hard, Help Is Available
This video explains the resources available to parents in El Paso County and how the community as a whole can reach out to parents. It was produced by the El Paso County Department of Human Services through the Not One More Child Coalition. Closed captioning and the packaging of DVD copies of this video were paid for by Colorado Springs Utilities.

Tip Sheets for Parents and Caregivers

Warning Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • 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, tantruming).

Warning signs of physical abuse:

  • 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:

  • 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:

  • Trouble walking or sitting.
  • Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Abuse and Neglect

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