Who can I call if I’m concerned about the safety of a child?

If you become concerned that a child is being abused or neglected, please call the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-392-3738. If a child is in immediate danger, please contact 911 or local law enforcement first, then call the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.

What role does OCA play in a child abuse and neglect case?

OCA is not a first responder agency for child abuse and neglect. When citizens are concerned that appropriate actions to protect a child or to provide needed services to children and their families are not being taken, OCA serves in an ombudsman capacity to investigate and evaluate whether appropriate action has been taken and whether or not an appropriate plan is in place to help resolve concerns with a family.

Are OCA and Children’s Division part of the same agency?

No. OCA operates under the Office of Administration and is independent of the Department of Social Services, Children’s Division, the Department of Mental Health, and the Juvenile Court.

Can OCA help me with my Children’s Division case?

Possibly. OCA provides oversight of open and unsubstantiated Children’s Division cases. Once your complaint is received, it will be reviewed, and a decision will be made concerning how the issue will be addressed. Depending on the specific circumstances, OCA may be able to assist you in resolving your concern.

Can you share with me information of my Children’s Division case?

No. Due to confidentiality laws, OCA staff cannot disclose any information they read in a Children’s Division case file.

How do I file a complaint with OCA?

There are two ways to file a complaint with OCA.

  • One option is to complete and submit an online complaint form detailing your situation. Upon submission, a staff member will review and you will be contacted for follow-up to let you know the next steps that we will take in response to your complaint.
  • The other option is to call our office directly (866-457-2302) and discuss your case with one of our friendly staff members.
Will my name be disclosed if I make a complaint on Children’s Division?

Absolutely not. OCA staff will NOT reveal the source of the complaint to Children’s Division. Additionally, complaints can be anonymously submitted to OCA.

I am concerned about Children’s Division’s performance during a case but I am not ready to contact OCA. What can I do prior to engaging OCA?

If you are not ready to involve OCA to resolve your concern, you can attempt to resolve the concern directly with the County Children’s Division office that has caused the concerns. We would suggest contacting a supervisor, a circuit manager, or constituent services as necessary.

Can OCA provide legal assistance to me?

OCA is unable to provide legal assistance or representation to members of the public. You can obtain legal aide for low income by contacting Samaritan Legal Services. If you do not qualify for legal aide as low income, you can contact the Missouri Bar.

Can OCA help me with a case that does not involve Children’s Division or Juvenile Court proceedings?

OCA is charged with providing assistance to the public to resolve concerns with cases involving children who have been abused or neglected. Though we are unable to provide direct help with other matters, we are happy to help you find the an organization that can assist you.