In contrast to many other countries in Europe, Germany lacks sufficient empirical data on the incidence/prevalence of child maltreatment and its risk factors. This pilot study generated systematic data on the prevalence of child abuse and neglect and its risk factors in Germany. Using a newly developed questionnaire (ESM1 and ESM2) on child abuse and neglect as well as indicators for risk factors, we conducted a survey on 35 child daycare centers in a county in southern Germany, the goal being to generate reliable data. The questionnaire and the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was completed by daycare professionals for every child between 4 and under 7 years who was attending the participating daycare center (1,122 children). Child maltreatment was reported in 13.2 % of the cases, and risk factors for future child maltreatment were detected in 38.4 % cases. This study demonstrates that systematic data collection concerning child protection is feasible in child daycare centers. In the future, we recommend that local child protection networks be modified on the basis of reliable empirical data.