People have done a good job of helping you determine what is "CPS appropriate." I too would report the bolded information. If you can, try to remember some specific examples with dates or other details that will help the person taking the report.
As a foster mom (in a loving home where we don't have abusive older children-- a common type of foster home, especially among foster parents who take very young children), the one that I personally would give the most "air time" in my report is that the child is not consistently being fed. A child going hungry (that is, not being offered
any food) until at least 4pm (might be later if child wasn't dropped off at your house?) is severe
neglect. I am really shocked someone here considered this within the "norm."
So, in summary, you would be reporting:
1. Neglect (child not being fed, inconsistent and completely inadequate supervision, medical neglect in administration of meds, rare use of car seats)
2. Physical abuse (I would focus primarily on the child being dragged around by the hair unless you have seen bruises and other marks from the hitting, though you could mention the hitting too)
3. Emotional abuse (constant screaming)
Keep your report organized.
Assuming you will report, and I think it is well warranted, the exact response will vary by state (if you are in the U.S.) and even county. However, it will probably look something like this:
1. The person who takes the report over the phone will gather the details and then (usually in coordination with a supervisor) make a determination of whether an investigation is warranted.
2. If it is not warranted, they may choose to simply record the report but do nothing, or in some cases they will send the family a letter to serve as a type of warning.
3. If they do screen the call "in" for investigation, they will complete some type of check on the welfare of the children.
4. During the check on the children, a few things can happen:
- They may decide at that point that the situation doesn't fit the abuse and neglect laws of your area. In this case, they will close the case within some short time period (a few days, a couple of weeks, or something like that). The record will show the concern as "unfounded."
- They may decide that the situation doesn't fit the abuse and neglect laws of your area, but that the child is at significant enough risk that the case should remain open for a little while so they can monitor the situation and provide referrals, etc.
- They may determine that the case is one of abuse and neglect, and will provide services and support while the children remain in the home and they monitor how things are going.
- They may determine the case is one of abuse and neglect, and that there is an immediate danger to the children should they remain in the home. This may end up being very short-term. There are some kids who come into care for just a weekend-long period while the most immediate concerns get sorted out. Other times, kids remain in foster care for a longer period, but statistically, the majority return home within 6 months or less, and the vast, vast majority are returned by the one year mark. Meanwhile, the parents will receive services to support improvement in the areas of concern and will have visitations with the kids (#, length, and degree of supervision if any is determined by regional standards and the specifics of the case). If children are removed from a home, relative/kinship placements by law must be considered before "standard" foster care placements, though if the child is removed quickly, the child may go to a "standard" placement until a relative background check is completed.
It varies from area to area, but statistically, most calls to CPS do not result in even a temporary removal of children from their homes. The idea that a CPS call automatically means foster care is a misnomer. I've had kids come into my care who literally spent years prior in *horrendously* abusive or neglectful situations while multiple calls were made but didn't result in removal until finally during an investigation, something changed.
I don't know why it is important for you to ask yourself what your goal is in calling. The fact is, what you are describing is abuse and neglect, and the state will determine how bad it is and what that means for the future. You really have nothing to do with that. Most wrongful reports don't result in actions against the family, despite all the stuff on the internet from folks claiming their children are wrongfully in care (I know there are some folks honestly saying this, and I grieve for them, but some of the parents of foster kids I've had in my home were on the internet saying similar things when in fact they really were abusing and neglecting their children to the point that the child was very, very much in danger...knowing how often that has been true, I pay little mind to those stories).
Sounds like the OP feels she needs to report not based on one thing alone, but a collection of things...the bigger picture. I think there are enough very serious safety issues in her post that override any concern that she might be reporting for feeding alone. Clearly she is not.