Child protection intake screeners, in partnership with the screening team, review and accept reports of alleged child maltreatment based on the Department of Human Services (DHS) Minnesota Child Maltreatment Intake, Screening, and Response Path Guidelines.
Minnesota Statute 260E.06 requires mandated reporters to make a report if they know of, or have reason to believe a child is being neglected or abused, or has been neglected or abused within the preceding three years. Verbal reports must be made immediately (no longer than 24 hours). A verbal report by a mandated reporter must be followed within 72 hours, excluding holidays and weekends, by a written report of alleged maltreatment.
If a child is in immediate danger, or to request an immediate welfare check, call 9-1-1 or your local police department.
To verbally report suspected abuse or neglect of a child:
Calls during the evening, weekend, or holidays should be made to the Washington County Crisis Response Unit at 651-275-7400.
Please fill out and submit the following form:
Submissions lacking identifying information may result in a report not being accepted.
Terms related to abuse as defined by Washington County:
- Failure to Thrive: A physician's diagnosis of failure to thrive due to parental deprivation.
- Mental Injury:
- An injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in the child's ability to function within the normal range of performance and behavior with due regard to the child's culture.
- Behaviors to be considered are rejecting, isolating, terrorizing, ignoring, or corrupting the child.
- Physical Abuse: An intentional (non-accidental) act resulting in a visible injury or no observable injury but the child reports pain in the head, stomach, torso, or genitalia as a result of being hit in that area or an act of reasonable discipline which results in injury except for an injury resulting from reasonable force to restrain (ref. MS609.379).
- Sexual Abuse:
- Intentional touching of the victim's breasts, buttocks, inner thighs, groin, or primary genital area (or the victim touching the perpetrator in these areas) through the clothing or skin-to-skin contact.
- This would include a victim touching themselves or two victims touching each other at the direction of an adult.
- This also includes children involved in prostitution or sexual performance.
- Threatened Injury: A statement, overt act, condition, or status that represents a substantial risk of physical abuse or mental injury.
- Threatened Sexual Abuse: A statement, overt act, condition, or status that presents a substantial risk of sexual abuse.
Terms related to neglect as defined by Washington County:
- Failure to Protect:
- A person poses physical or sexual threat to a child and parent or caretaker does not act to protect the child.
- Parent or caretaker exposes the child to threatening or dangerous conditions or criminal activity.
- Any time the child participates in a criminal act.
- Failure to Provider for a Child's Special Needs: Reports of suicidal, anorexic or bulimic, or self-mutilating, etc., children are assessed when it is reported that the parent is not responding to degree of threat presented or is not cooperating with professional recommendations.
- Failure to Provide Education: Elementary school-aged children who have demonstrated serious attendance problems and the school system's efforts to work effectively with the parents to correct the problem have been unsuccessful.
- Failure to Provide Medical Care: Failure to provide medical care refers to a continuing or consistent refusal or failure to seek, obtain, and follow through with a diagnosis and treatment of medical, dental, or mental health care for a health problem, symptom, or condition which, if untreated, could place the child in immediate or future jeopardy, incapacitation, or death.
- Illegal Placement: A child 15 years old or younger living in a nonrelative, unlicensed home for more than 30 days in a 12-month period.
- Inadequate Clothing or Hygiene:
- The failure to provide and maintain adequate clothing which is appropriate to the climate and/or environmental conditions.
- Inappropriateness or condition of clothing presents a health or safety hazard.
- Inadequate Food: Child routinely lacks sufficient quantity or quality of food or child suffers from medically-diagnosed malnutrition or developmental lags.
- Inadequate Shelter: The periodic or continuing failure to provide adequate shelter and protection from weather and from environmental hazards in the dwelling and on this property which have potential for injury, illness, and/or disease.
- Lack of Supervision: Failure to provide supervision, care, guidance, and/or protection, which results in the child being in situations beyond his ability to cope, at risk of physical harm, at risk of sexual and/or other exploitation.
- Prenatal Exposure to Controlled Substances: This includes withdrawal symptoms in the child at birth, a positive toxicology test performed on the mother or child during prenatal checks or at delivery, or mother admits using chemicals.
Definition of Family AssessmentsAs defined by Minnesota State Statute, a family assessment is a comprehensive assessment of child safety, risk of subsequent child maltreatment, and family strength and needs that is applied to a child maltreatment report that does not allege substantial child endangerment. Family assessment does not include a determination as to whether child maltreatment occurred, but does determine the need for services.
The goals of family assessment are:
- Assess for the child's safety and risk of maltreatment
- Build a partnership between parents and social workers
- Ensure the safety of the child(ren)
- Identify and build on the existing family strengths
- Identify the family's needs and provide services
- Minimize negative labeling of parents involved in the child protection system
- Utilize county resources in the most effective manner to help meet the needs of families
Family Assessments are Different from InvestigationsUnlike investigations, there is no determination made regarding whether or not an incident of maltreatment occurred. The goal of a family assessment is to use a holistic approach, focusing on the safety of the children and the families' strengths. Concerns and needs are addressed rather than focusing on the details of a specific incident to prove or disprove that abuse or neglect occurred.
Providing ServicesChild protection services are often provided on a voluntary basis. There are cases where the need for child protection services is critical and court action can be sought to require the family to accept child protection services and to ensure that the family follows through with the necessary social service plan.
Take Time OutThere are lots of things you can do to prevent taking your frustrations out on your child. When the big and little problems of everyday life pile up to the point where you feel like lashing out, it is possible to stop and take time out. It is possible to get a hold of yourself before you get a hold of your child.
When you do stop, take time out, and do something immediately that will help you cool down and collect yourself. The next time everyday pressures build up to the point where you feel like lashing out stop and try any of these simple alternatives. See what works for you. You'll feel better and so will your child.
- Stop in your tracks. Step back. Sit down.
- Take five breaths. Inhale. Exhale, Slowly. Slowly. Remember you are the adult.
- Press your lips together and count to 10. Better yet, 20. Or say the alphabet out loud.
- Phone a friend or a relative.
- If someone can watch the children, go outside and take a walk or go visit someone.
- Put your child in a time-out chair. Think about why you are angry: Is it your child or is your child simply a convenient target for your anger?
- Look through a magazine, book, or newspaper.
- Do some sit-ups.
- Write down your thoughts.
- Take a hot bath or a cold shower or splash cold water on your face.
- Lie down on the floor or just put your feet up.
- Put on your favorite music or radio program. Maybe even sing along.
- Write down as many helpful words as you can think of. Save the list.
- Close your eyes and imagine you're hearing what your child is about to hear.
- Still mad? Hug a pillow or munch on an apple.