Indian Child Welfare

201 South Muskogee Ave. Tahlequah, OK 74464

Child Protective Services

Cherokee Nation Child Protective Services accepts, investigates and records all reports of alleged abuse and neglect of Cherokee children and provides protection to Indian children on Indian lands. Child Protective Services also works with the Department of Human Services to investigate the abuse or mistreatment of Cherokee children residing outside the Cherokee Nation. The primary responsibility of Child Protective Services is to assess the safety of the child and take the appropriate action to protect and promote the best interest of the child.

What is child abuse?
Child abuse is defined by law as harm or threatened harm to a child's health and welfare through acts or neglect by the child's parent(s), legal guardian or caretaker.

  • Physical Abuse: non-accidental physical injury to a child under the age of 18. 
  • Physical Neglect: failure to provide a child under the age of 18 with basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, educational opportunity, protection or supervision. 
  • Sexual Abuse: sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent for the gratification of the perpetrator or another person. 
  • Psychological Maltreatment: rejecting, terrorizing, isolating, exploiting, corrupting, and/or denying emotional responsiveness.

Who is required to report child abuse? 
Federal, Tribal and State law requires EVERY PERSON, whether private citizen or professional, with reasonable cause to believe that a child under 18 is being abused or is in danger of being abused, to report the suspicion of abuse. Reports can be made to the Department of Human Services (DHS) in the county where the child resides or to a statewide hotline number designated for such a purpose.

When should someone report child abuse?
A report should be made when there is reasonable cause to believe that a child or adolescent has been abused or neglected or is in danger of being abused. A report of suspected abuse is only a request for an investigation. The person making the report does not need to prove the abuse prior to making the report. Investigation and validation of child abuse reports is the responsibility of child protective services. If additional incidents of abuse occur after the initial report has been made, the reporting party should contact child protective services again.

How should an abuse report be made? 
A report can be made to any county office of the Department of Human Services. Child abuse can also be reported 24 hours per day, seven days per week by calling the statewide child abuse hotline.

Statewide Child Abuse Hotline: 800-522-3511

You can also contact Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare Intake at 918-458-6900.

What information is needed when reporting abuse? 
When reporting child abuse, the following information will be requested. Failure to have all the information available should not prevent a person from reporting the abuse. However, certain information is vital to locate the child and provide some indication of what to expect when the child protective services worker investigates.

Prior to opening an investigation, pertinent information to provide includes:

  • Name of the child and family members 
  • Approximate age of the child (required) and family members 
  • Gender of the child and family members 
  • Family address or directions to the child's home or current location (required)
  • Family phone number 
  • Parents place of employment 
  • Description of suspected abuse (required) 
  • Current condition of the child (required)
  • Those reporting child abuse can remain anonymous