Family Investigations: How Do Abuse or Neglect Reports Work?June 18, 2019 | Category: Family Law
According to the Department of Human Resources, Minnesota's many counties and tribes receive over 18,000 reports of abuse and neglect every year. Multiple processes are available for handling these reports and resolving the complications that underlie them. Most cases are settled through Minnesota's Family Assessment Response, but a small subset warrants a full-on investigation, as we explain below:
Which Cases Warrant Family Investigations?
An investigation may prove necessary if the child at the center of the abuse or neglect report is in immediate danger — and if the family in question refuses to take part in an assessment. Essentially, investigations are reserved for urgent cases involving noncooperative parents.
What Happens During an Investigation?
Investigations essentially involve a series of interviews. Social workers may gather information from:
- The alleged victim
- The victim's parents
- The alleged offender
- Witnesses or other people who can speak to the victim's safety
Often, social workers discuss abuse and neglect reports with the victim's teachers, supervisors, or medical providers.
Upon gathering information about the case and the victim's general safety, social workers must make official determinations regarding:
- Whether the child was actually abused or neglected
- Whether child protective services should be called on to ensure the child's safety
These determinations must be made within 45 days of the investigation's start. Parents and alleged offenders must be notified of these determinations within 10 days. Those who disagree with final determinations are permitted to ask social services to reconsider. If the case moves forward with child protective services, the parents or offender may cooperate with social workers to develop a plan for addressing ongoing issues.
Whether you're looking to report abuse or are fighting such accusations, you can benefit from legal counsel. Contact us today to learn more about family investigations in Minnesota and how we can guide you through this difficult process.