Child Protection Services
Nobles County Community Services provides services to protect children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Services are initiated when a child protection report is made by either a mandatory or voluntary reporter. Reports are initially screened to see if there is an allegation of abuse or neglect that meets criteria as defined by state law https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=626.556. Also see MN Child Maltreatment Screening Guidelines for more information. http://www.lcc.leg.mn/tfcp/meetings/10132015/DHS_New_Screening_Guidelines.pdf
The reported concerns are assessed or investigated to determine what is happening with the family. If the safety concerns are not adequately resolved, the family will continue to work with an assigned case manager to develop a plan to mitigate the safety concerns and improve family functioning. The court may become involved as a result of a petition filed for “Children in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS). While the agency believes that a child’s best interests and protection is usually maximized by maintaining the child at home whenever possible, it is sometimes necessary to seek temporary removal of a child to assure safety.
When children must be separated from their families, the agency tries to place the child or children together and also considers relative or significant people in the child’s life to the greatest extent possible. Work begins to try and reunify the family as soon as it is safe to do so. When reunification is not possible, other permanent options are then considered, including adoption.
Keeping Children Safe:
The goal of child protection is to prevent child maltreatment (abuse or neglect). If a child is not safe in his or her home, it may be necessary to place the child in out of home placement. If out of home placement is necessary because of significant and/or ongoing safety issues, social workers will work with the parents towards reunifying parents and children as soon as it is safe to do so. In cases when a safe return is not possible, alternative, permanent options are identified, which could include transfer or legal custody or adoption.
To make a report
If you suspect a child is a victim of maltreatment a report can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 507-295-5213. A child protection social worker will assist you. If you are not sure whether or not to make a report the intake worker can assist you with that.
When you make call to make a report be prepared to provide the following information:
- Information about the family including names and addresses of the child(ren) and the parent(s)
- Specific descriptions of the suspected abuse and neglect to the child, including what happened, when it occurred and the identity of the abuser.
Other helpful information:
- The child’s school
- Other witnesses
- The child’s location
- Names of other family and household members
After the report:
Intake workers do a thorough review of all reports of child maltreatment in order to determine whether or not the report meets the criteria for an investigation/assessment. If the report does not meet the criteria requiring an investigation or assessment, no further action is taken. A record of the report will be recorded and maintained. If the report does meet the criteria for investigation /assessment a maltreatment investigation will be done to determine the appropriate type of response needed to best protect the child(ren).
If you are a mandated reporter please click here:http://www.co.nobles.mn.us/departments/community-services/childrens-services/mandated-reporting/