Child Protection Assessment Approaches
Assessments are conducted in response to reports of children being neglected or abused by caregivers. There are 2 approaches to assessments that county human services utilizes.
First Assessment Approach
The first is a Family Assessment which includes a comprehensive assessment of the child’s safety, risk of subsequent child maltreatment and family strengths and needs that is applied to child maltreatment reports that do not allege substantial child endangerment. This approach does not make a determination of whether or not the maltreatment occurred, but does determine the need for services to address the safety of family members, the risk of subsequent maltreatment and threats to family and child well being.
Second Assessment Approach
The second approach is an investigatory assessment which includes fact gathering related to the current safety of the child and the risk of subsequent maltreatment, and ascertains whether child maltreatment occurred and whether protective services are needed. This approach utilizes a team approach with law enforcement and human services.
Law Enforcement Role
Law enforcement investigates allegations of abuse or neglect by perpetrators outside the child’s family or household. All child protection reports are received by our agency are screened by 2 child protections workers, intake social worker, and a social services supervisor to determine whether the report meets the criteria established by Minnesota State Statutes 626.556. Otter Tail County human services work for various agencies in the county, as well as community professionals and citizens to determine if a child was abused or neglected and whether or not there is a risk of further maltreatment.
Upon completion of the assessment or investigation a determination must be made if there is a need for services and whether those services would be through the county agency or they connect families with resources in their communities or through an informal support system.
Reporting Abuse, Neglect, Etc.
After hours reports can be made by calling the local law enforcement agency. Reports can be made anonymously, unless you are a mandated reporter (defined by law as individuals working directly with children i.e. teachers, childcare providers, doctors, etc.)