Child Protective Services
Washington County has the responsibility and authority to assure that children alleged to be abused or neglected are protected from harm or danger and that children in need of protection or services receive the appropriate services.
This is a major responsibility and is taken very seriously by this department. Washington County Community Services believes that the child's best interest and protection is maximized by maintaining the child at home whenever possible.
Reporting Abuse or Neglect
If the child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local police department.
If you want to make an immediate oral report of physical or sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation of a child, please call 651-430-6457 between 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
After hours, you may call Crisis Response 651-275-7400 to make a report.
Written Report: If you wish to make a written report and email it, please fill out the Referral of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect form. Incomplete forms may result in the report not being accepted.
The criteria used to determine when to conduct a Child Protection Assessment is set forth in Minnesota Statute 626.556, Subd.10.
The child protection intake screeners accept reports of alleged child maltreatment based on legal definitions and guidelines for assessment and investigation. A determination is made if a report should be assigned for further assessment or investigation.
Minnesota Mandated Reporting
Under Minnesota Statute 626.556, persons in designated professional occupations are mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
Persons who work with children and families are in a position to help protect children from harm. These persons are required by law to report to child protection if they know or have a reason to believe that a child is being abused or neglected or that a child has been neglected or abused within the prior three years.
The individual with direct knowledge of possible child abuse or neglect is individually responsible to report to the police or child protection. Reporting the concern to a supervisor, administrator, or other coworkers does not mitigate your responsibility to report.
The reporter's name is confidential, accessible only if the reporter consents or by a court order. You can find more information about mandated reporting in the Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters.
The following professionals and their delegates are mandated reporters:
|Child Care||Babysitters, child care center staff, home child care providers|
|Corrections Management and Staff|
|Education||School administrators, support staff, teachers, assistants|
|Guardians Ad Litem|
|Health Care Professionals||Dental professionals, hospital staff, medical professionals and personnel|
|Mental Health Professionals||Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists / counselors|
|Social Services||Foster parents, group home staff, social workers|
Failure to Report
If a mandated reporter does not report suspected abuse or neglect, they could be prosecuted for committing a misdemeanor. If a child suffers substantial or great bodily harm as a result of not receiving needed treatment for the abuse or neglect because of a failure to report, it is a gross misdemeanor. If the child dies as a result, it is a felony.
Terms related to abuse as defined by Washington County are as follows.
Failure to Thrive
A physician's diagnosis of failure to thrive due to parental deprivation
- 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.
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)
- 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.
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 are as follows.
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 Provide 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 systems 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.
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
Child routinely lacks sufficient quantity or quality of food or child suffers from medically-diagnosed malnutrition or developmental lags
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 to 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 or children
- 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 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 deep 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. Remember the rule: one time-out minute for each year of age.
- Put yourself 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?
- Thumb through a magazine, book, or newspaper.
- Do some sit-ups.
- Pick up a pencil and 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 record or radio program. Maybe even sing along.
- Pick up a pencil and 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.