Social Services becomes involved with families through reports of maltreatment. The maltreatment reports originate from members of the community. The term maltreatment includes any of the following actions by a parent or caretaker:
- Neglect of a child
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Reports are assessed by a child protection specialist and a law enforcement officer if the report involves an allegation that a crime was committed. The child protection specialist will determine if maltreatment occurred according to the statutory definition and/or whether services are needed by the family.
Social Services cannot effectively protect children or identify families needing services without the help of the community. Reports of maltreatment come from the community.Sources of information include:
- Day cares
- Family members
- Medical personnel
Anyone can make a report, but there are certain people that are obligated to make a child protection report if they have reason to believe maltreatment has occurred. Mandated reporters include individuals employed in:
- Clergy members
- Health care
- Law enforcement
- Psychological or psychiatric care
- Social services
Filing a Maltreatment Report
To make a report, it is not necessary for the reporter to know maltreatment has occurred. Rather, the reporter needs to have reason to believe maltreatment is occurring. The identity of the reporter remains confidential. Anyone having knowledge of or reason to believe maltreatment occurred, should report that information as all the pieces of information can help create an accurate picture of what is happening in a family.
To make a child protection report, call 507-387-4556 during business hours or 507-931-1570 during non-business hours.