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Child abuse at the lake – Part 13 in a series: The role of the Children’s Division

| April 10, 2012 at 09:55 am

Children have a right to be safe and live free from abuse and neglect. When a concern of abuse or neglect is determined, families are supported through activities that promote positive child development and assure safety of the children.

Children are entitled to enduring nurturing relationships that provide a sense of family, stability and belonging.

Children’s Division is involved with many families for a variety of reasons.These may include persons wishing to provide foster care, wishing to adopt, wanting to learn if behaviors their children are exhibiting are “normal,” inquiring about counseling services in the community or seeking help when going through a death, divorce or separation, as well as those persons who have been reported for or who have self reported to prevent or remedy child abuse or neglect.

Let’s look at how families come to be involved with Children’s Division involuntarily. The Children’s Division Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline receives confidential reports of suspected child abuse, neglect or exploitation. Reports are received through a toll-free telephone line which is answered seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Persons in certain occupations, such as teachers, social workers and physicians, are mandated by law to make reports if they suspect abuse or neglect. Any person may report concerns they believe are abusive or neglectful of children.

After a report of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation has been made to the statewide child abuse hotline, the information is referred to the appropriate Children’s Division local office. State law requires that a Children’s Division service worker begin an investigation or family assessment within 24 hours of the receipt of the report except a report of educational neglect. In the case of educational neglect (failing to provide education to a child between the ages of 6 and 16) the investigation must be initiated within 72 hours of the report.

The purpose of the investigation or family assessment is to detect actual or potential abuse or neglect and to help the family and child. If the child is reported to be in immediate danger, the children’s service worker must immediately observe the child after receipt of the report.

When a child abuse or neglect investigation or family assessment is completed by Children’s Division and there is evidence of abuse or neglect or a belief that preventive services are needed by the family, services unique to that particular family are provided. In most situations these services are provided to the family and children in their own home. These services may also be provided to families who voluntarily seek help.

Source: Lake News Online

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