Child protection reporting suspected abuse/neglect
Children and family services intake
- Receives community concerns of children and requests for information or services
- Prepares intake reports & participates in daily screening team meetings
- Cross reports all child maltreatment reports to appropriate law enforcement and county attorney jurisdictions
- Prepares correspondence with reporters, professionals
To report a concern about a child who resides in the MNPrairie County Alliance area, contact our centralized intake during normal business hours.
Contact local law enforcement, dispatch 911 after business hours, holidays and weekends. Children and family has an on-call social worker rotation to screen and respond to concerns of imminent danger as necessary after hours and can be contacted via law enforcement. You can find the numbers to the appropriate dispatch location by clicking on our safety page.
Written reports can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 507.837.5330.
Mandatory reporters are required to report immediately (no longer than 24 hours) and required follow-up written reports must be submitted within 72 hours (weekends/holidays excluded).
If you are a professional who works with children and families, you are in a key position to help protect children from harm. Minnesota statute requires professionals and their delegates who work with children to make a child protection report if they know of or have reason to believe:
- A child is being neglected or abused, or
- A child has been neglected or abused within the preceding three years
Mandated reporters included professionals and their delegates in the following fields:
- Childcare providers
- Clergy (see statute for detail)
- Dental professionals
- Education professionals (including administration and support staff)
- Foster care providers
- Group home staff
- Guardians ad litem
- Medical professionals (home, community, clinic and inpatient settings)
- Mental health professionals
- Law enforcement
- Corrections/probation professionals
- Social service professionals and support staff.
Minnesota statutes provide mandated reporters with great personal responsibility:
- If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you have responsibility to make the report and cannot shift responsibility to another (e.g. supervisor, counselor, principal)
- Anyone who reports child abuse or neglect in good faith is immune from civil liability. The reporter’s name is confidential. It is accessible only if the reporter consents, by court order or by court procedure.
- If you are required to report known or suspected abuse or neglect and fail to do so, you may face misdemeanor charges.
The child protection worker, law enforcement agent or licensing agency worker to whom you report may ask you to provide as many facts as possible so they can determine a need for intervention per the Reporting of Maltreatment to Minors Act and the Minnesota Intake and Screening Guidelines bulletin.
Law enforcement agencies, child protection agencies and other responsible agencies cooperatively assess and investigate reports of child maltreatment. These agencies are best prepared to help a child and family in need of support. The child protection agency will determine a need for, or offer, services to safeguard the welfare of the abused or neglected child.
What will I be asked when I call?
When you contact child protection, the intake worker will need the following information:
- Your name and phone number and your relationship to the family of child
Reason for the call:
- What concerns/worries do you have?
- What prompted you to call today?
Questions to which you may or may not have the answers. These questions are important to assist with the decision the agency has to make:
- What is the child(ren)’s name? Age(s)?
- What are the name(s)/ ages of the parent(s)/caregiver(s)? Address(es)?
- What do you know about where the child(ren) lives? One household? Two households? Other?
- What is your relationship to the child(ren)?
- What do you know about any other adults in the child(ren)’s home(s)?
- What do you know about any other children in the home?
- What do you know about the family’s primary language? Additional languages spoken? Other considerations regarding ethnicity and culture that would be important to know about this family?
- What do you know about any special/additional/complex needs that the child(ren) may have? Premature birth? Low birth weight (other perinatal complications)? Multiples birth (twins, triplets, etc.)? Other?
- What do you know about where the child(ren) was at the time of the incident you described? Was there access to poisons, weapons, etc.?
- What do you know about how the child(ren) reacted? The impact on him/her (them)? Was the reaction prolonged and/or exaggerated? Please describe.
Clarifying questions (to gather information specific to frequency, severity and duration):
- When you say ________ (e.g. “mental health issues”, “alcoholic”, “domestic/family violence”, “scared”, etc…) what does that mean?
- What do you know about who might have been responsible for what (specific actions/behaviors? Verbal? Physical? Both?)?
- Whose parenting/caregiving are you worried about?
- When did the incident occur? Where did it occur? How do you know? Did you observe, did someone tell you, etc..?
- When did you last observe or see this?
- Where is the child(ren) right now? How long are they expected to be there? How confident do you feel about the child(ren)’s safety?
General assets/strengths and exception questions:
- What do you know about the general health and development of the child(ren)? Details?
- What do you know about family supports? Details?
- What do you know about positive parenting practices (use of discipline that is free from fear and pain)? Details?
- What do you know about any other service providers/resources that are involved with the family? Details?
- What do you know about times when worrisome behaviors are absent? Details?
- Did you inform the family that you were going to refer/ report? What was their reaction? How do you expect they will react to someone from child protective services showing up? What else, if anything, should we be aware of?
- What brings you to calling about this today – specific urgency?
- What, if any, additional worries and/or assets would you like me to be aware of?
- Thank you. What is the best address for us to send you a follow up letter?
(KVC Institute for Health Systems Innovation, Practice Guidance Series: Intake/Hotline/Screening Engagement Interview)