I am concerned that my ex-wife's new husband/stepson is molesting my child; we share joint custody but the court does not believe me. What can I do?


Concerns for the welfare of a child's safety and well-being should be reported to the child welfare agency in the state/county where the alleged maltreatment may be occurring. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, maintains a state-specific listing of child abuse and neglect reporting numbers.

If a report has already been made to the appropriate agency and child welfare concerns persist or intensify, particularly in cases of alleged child sexual abuse, it may be possible to elevate the report to the State Liaison Officer (SLO) for Child Abuse and Neglect in the state where the alleged maltreatment is occurring. Every state has an SLO that serves as the Children's Bureau's contact for public child protective services and constituent concerns, among a variety of other roles that may vary by state. A listing of SLOs is also available on the Information Gateway website.

Childhelp, a national organization with a 24-hour crisis hotline number, 1.800.422.4453, provides assistance in emergency situations and can offer concerned individuals with guidance and referrals to other appropriate child welfare services.

Individuals with concerns specifically related to the alleged sexual abuse of a child may wish to direct their concerns to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest nonprofit, antisexual violence organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, which provides victims of sexual assault and their families with free, confidential services around the clock.

Requests for assistance and concerns related to a family court case or other legal proceeding should be directed to and handled by the attorney or attorneys involved in the case and/or court personnel, if appropriate.

If assistance is needed in locating an attorney, the American Bar Association (ABA) website provides a variety of services to the general public, including the Find Legal Help webpage, which includes legal aid and pro bono attorney referrals and links to court resources.

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