Child Abuse Prevention/Protection
In accordance with Section 43-21-105 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, “Abused Child means a child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused upon said child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, non-accidental physical injury or other maltreatment. Provided, however that physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section.” In regard to physical abuse, it is important to understand that although parents, guardians and custodians are legally allowed to utilize corporal punishment, they are not allowed to cause bruises, marks, or other injuries to children when utilizing corporal punishment. Any evidence of such will be recognized as abuse by the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services.
The online reporting system has been provided for reporting suspicions of abuse/neglect that do not require an emergency response. Call local law enforcement agency or 911 if the situation is a life-threatening emergency. A situation where a child is at immediate risk of abuse/neglect that could result in death or serious harm is considered an emergency. If you have any doubt about your referral being an emergency, please call Mississippi Centralized Intake instead of using the online referral system.
Call Centralized Intake at 800-222-8000 (nationwide) or 601-432-4570 if:
- The situation you are reporting is an emergency;
- You prefer to remain anonymous;
- You have insufficient data to complete the required fields using the online reporting system; or
- The suspected abuse/neglect you are reporting occurred outside the state of Mississippi, and you do not know how to contact the state where it occurred.
If none of the above applies, please use the abuse link to submit a non-emergency report online.
The Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services (MDCPS) is the state agency accountable for child welfare in Mississippi. Visit the MDCPS website for more information.
Child Care Payment Program (CCPP) Fraud
Any parent or provider who applies for or receives CCPP subsidies by using false statements, or any person who assists a parent or provider to receive such public assistance with knowledge of false statements, is committing fraud. If a suspicion of fraud is investigated and substantiated, the director of the Division of Early Childhood Care and Development (DECCD) shall exercise discretion in determining the sanctions against the responsible party, which may include the following: recoupment of improper payments, suspension, debarment, or criminal prosecution.
An Intentional Program Violation (IPV) occurs when a parent or provider intentionally falsifies, misrepresents, or withholds information that could result in a family or provider becoming ineligible or approved or in reduced family benefits. Examples of IPVs include but are not limited to the following: overclaiming payment for child care services rendered, claiming payment for a child who no longer attends the child care facility, failing to maintain sign-in/sign-out sheets, forging sign-in/sign-out sheets, forging change-of-provider forms, forging signatures, failing to charge co-payments, and having multiple certificates for the same child. IPVs are considered fraudulent, and all Suspected Intentional Program Violations (SIPVs) shall be referred to the MDHS Division of Program Integrity.
Report CCPP fraud online or call toll-free: 800-877-7882
General Comments and Complaints Related to Child Care and Early Childhood Programs
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) provides a Child Care Facility Complaint Hotline (1-866-489-8734) for parents to report complaints. Complaints against child care facilities are handled jointly by MSDH and the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS). Unless ordered by a court, the identity of the individual who reported the complaint shall not be disclosed outside of MSDH and/or MDHS investigative staff. The Child Care Facility Complaint Hotline is answered during regular business days. At night and on weekends or holidays, the complainant may leave a concern and callback information via the voice-message service. On the next working day, MSDH staff retrieve all hotline voice messages and record complainant information. An MSDH official will return a call to the complainant for additional details if necessary.
Facility Complaint Hotline: 1-866-489-8734
MSDH annual reports on deaths, serious injuries, and substantiated instances of child abuse in child care settings in Mississippi:
Click here for MSDH instructions on how to file a complaint and to access the public records request to view any substantiated complaints against providers.