Apr 2, 2019

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Feb 5, 2018
*NEW* Child Care Change Report form now available on our website.
Oct 13, 2017
The Family and Individual Services Unit has been renamed Public Assistance in order to be more aligned with the services provided to the public
Aug 21, 2017

Kenynia Howard was indicted by a Sandusky County Grand Jury and pled guilty to theft and Medicaid eligibility fraud.           

Jul 22, 2015

The Sandusky County Department of Job and Family Services along with the eight counties listed below implemented a call center know as COLLABOR8. These nine (9) JFS Departments share a telephone and imaging system between counties to service public assistance consumers.

Nov 7, 2012
Child Support Web Portal Now Available

What if a Child Tells You...

About Abuse or Neglect?

Remember a secret, a secret you couldn't share? You thought about it all the time because you wanted to tell. You were ashamed of what people would think if they knew or afraid of what would happen if you told. You might have thought no one would understand, or, even worse, believe you. Children of abuse or neglect carry a secret like this.

There may be a time when a child or adolescent tells you, openly or indirectly, about abuse or neglect in his family. Recognize the strength which this child has demonstrated by sharing his secret and honor the trust he has shown by choosing you as his confidant. Although it may be a difficult subject for you to discuss. It is important that you handle the disclosure with sensitivity. In part, this can be accomplished by following some general guidelines.

  • Listen to what is being told to you.

Do not project or assume anything. Do not push the child to share more than he is willing. The child needs warmth and acceptance, not curiosity or interrogation. It is not necessary at this time that he reveal specific or intimate details.

  • Reassure him that he has done the right thing by telling you.
Acknowledge the difficulty of his decision and the personal strength he has shown in making his choice. Make it clear that the abuse or neglect is not his fault, that he is not bad or to blame.


  • Keep your own feelings under control.
Be calm and nonjudgmental. Do not express emotions such as shock, embarrassment, anger, or disgust. Do not criticize or belittle the child's family.


  • Use the child's own vocabulary.
The child may relate the abuse or neglect to you using family terminology. Do not try to substitute more polite or correct words.


  • Do not promise to keep the secret.   
Know your limits. This is not a situation you can handle by yourself.


  • Tell the truth.
Don't make promises you can't keep, particularly relating to secrecy, court involvement, placement, and caseworker decisions. After abuse or neglect has been disclosed, there may be actions taken over which neither you nor the child has control.


  • Be specific.
Let the child know exactly what is going to happen. Tell the child you are going to report the abuse or neglect to the children services agency. If you are a mandated professional, let him know you are required by law to report. Tell the child exactly what will happen when the report is made. Be honest; it does not protect him to hide anything. For example, if the child discloses sexual abuse, be candid that the child or the abusing adult/parent may be removed from the home. You can help by preparing the child for what lies ahead.


  • Assess the child's immediate safety.
Is it safe for the child to return home? Is he in immediate physical danger? Is it a crisis? Is there in-home protection?


  • Be supportive.
Remember why the child came to you. He needs your help, support, and guidance. Be there for him. Let him know that telling about the abuse or neglect was the right thing to do. It is the only way to make it stop.


  • Try to help the child regain control.
The child is about to be involved in a process in which the primary intent will be to determine his best interest. At times, this may seem to sweep him up in a series of events that are beyond his control. Although, alternatives may be limited, it can help to let the child make decisions whenever possible. For example, let the child choose whether to accompany you when the report is made, who else to talk to. Although many of the decision may seem trivial, they will allow the child some sense of self-determination.



Adapted from Child Abuse and Neglect Ohio Department of Job and Family Services