Important Changes Due to the COVID-19 Virus

  • During this time, the Department of Human Services is encouraging customers to utilize online self-service options. We have shortened our hours as a result of Kern County moving to an essential-staffing only model due to the quickly changing situation related to the COVID-19 virus. 
  • While our office will be closed to the public, we will continue to provide restricted in-person homeless services only between the hours of 7:30 AM and 1:00 PM. Our main lobby located at 100 E. California Avenue, Bakersfield, will conduct in-office interviews with our homeless clients by telephone utilizing the recently installed telephones in the lobby interview booths.
  • Due to these shortened hours and social distancing regulations, we are encouraging our clients to make use of our online options. Please go to and download the mobile app to apply for and keep track of your benefits, services, and application and redetermination forms. Applications for CalFresh may be made by phone at (661) 631-6062 and applications for Medi-Cal benefits can be made by calling 1-800-300-1506.
  • If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call the Child Abuse Hotline at (661) 631-6011 (Countywide) or (760) 375-6049 in Ridgecrest. Reports of child abuse can be made at any time.
  • Also, due to our limited service hours, we are encouraging clients to contact the EBT Customer Service line toll free at 1-877-328-9677 to report a lost, stolen, or damaged card, as well as to request a card replacement by mail.
  • Information regarding services will also be available by phone at (661) 631-6000. We want to reiterate, all critical services will be provided during our shortened hours.

Thank you for understanding.


Child Abuse Reporting

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Report Suspected Abuse or Neglect

Child Abuse Hotline
(661) 631-6011 (Countywide)
(760) 375-6049 (Ridgecrest)
(Report 24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
For all emergencies call 911

If you are calling about child abuse outside of Kern County please check the child abuse hotline for all California counties.

Mandated Reporters

Mandated Reporters call our 24 Hour Hotline number at (661) 631-6011 and send referrals by fax (661) 631-6568 during regular business hours.

Mandated Reporters may obtain forms here:

What Is Child Abuse & Neglect?

Child abuse and neglect can be categorized as follows:

  • Sexual Abuse: any sexual act by an adult in the presence of a child or to a child
  • Physical Abuse: bodily injury inflicted non-accidentally on a child by a parent, guardian or other adult
  • Emotional Abuse: non-physical mistreatment that endangers a child's emotional health
  • General Neglect: any mistreatment that threatens the child's health, safety or welfare, such as failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred
  • Severe Neglect: refers to situations where the child's health and life is endangered, including severe malnutrition and failure to thrive
  • Exploitation: forcing or coercing a child into performing activities that are beyond the child's capabilities or which are illegal or degrading

Common Indicators of Child Abuse & Neglect

  • Repeated or suspicious injuries or ‘accidents’
  • Neglected appearance: dirty and hungry, not dressed appropriately for the weather
  • Passive or withdrawn behavior
  • Disruptive behavior at home or school
  • Sudden personality change
  • Sexual acting out or inappropriate sexual knowledge
  • Sudden onset of eating disorders
  • Child lacking in medical or dental care
  • Disclosure of abuse or neglect by the child

While some of these factors may exist in any home, it is the extreme or persistent presence of these factors that indicate a degree of abuse or neglect. A messy or untidy home does not necessarily mean the home is unfit or that the child is a victim of neglect.

Trained investigators and medical professionals have a great deal of knowledge about the nature of a particular injury to a child. This information is used to distinguish accidental injuries from suspected physical abuse.

When you report suspected child abuse or neglect, please provide as much information as possible with regard to the situation: child's name, parent's name, address, phone number and the reason why you are concerned. You do not have to give your name, but it helps us if we have further questions. If you do give us your name, your identity is kept strictly confidential.

What Happens After I Make A Report?

Once a report of suspected child abuse or neglect has been made, various steps are taken as a part of the resolution process. These steps generally involve the Child Welfare Services and Juvenile Court. The resolution process consists of four main components:

  1. Emergency Response: The Child Welfare Service's investigation will determine if abuse or neglect is occurring, if a child is at risk in the home and if protective custody is necessary
  2. Family Maintenance: To provide support services to prevent abuse and/or neglect while the child continues to live in his or her own home
  3. Family Reunification: To provide support services to the family while the child is in temporary out-of-home care [foster care or placed with relatives.] These services include counseling, parent training and referrals to other community resources, to address precipitating factors such as substance abuse or domestic violence.
  4. Permanent Placement: This occurs when children cannot be returned to their families. These children are referred for permanent placement through adoptions, legal guardianship or long-term foster care.

Child abuse and neglect is a community problem and a community responsibility. Until you make a commitment, there can be no solution.

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