Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign
Strategic Action Plan
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11.2. Child Abuse Hotline/Screening
“DHS (CPS) and law enforcement — DHS and law enforcement agencies have a shared legal responsibility for taking child abuse reports and responding to them. Much of the information presented here about the child protective services (CPS) process also applies to law enforcement.”
At what point in the workflow is law enforcement notified as per regulations? Only when a record has been created (e.g., about 45% of the calls)? Only when a record is screened-in?
Who notifies law enforcement? The Screener? CPS? Someone else?
How is law enforcement notified? Call? Fax? Email?
What is law enforcement’s role in an active CPS case? In a screened-out CPS case? In a call to ORCAH for which there is no report in OR-Kids?
“For acceptance, the report must concern actions that meet the statutory definition of child abuse or neglect in that state. Typically, this will involve situations of harm or threatened harm to a child committed by a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s care. Reports that do not meet the statutory criteria are screened out. Reports that meet the criteria are screened in and referred to the state CPS agency for response.” [Bolding for emphasis]
Reports of harm or threatened harm to a child by a non-family member are screened-out. Who helps these children? Law enforcement?
Oregon Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Statistics – 2019
- There were an estimated 198,789 calls to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline (ORCAH) in 2019
- 55% of the calls to ORCAH did not result in a report created in the OR-Kids database – 109,338 calls not reported in OR-Kids database
- Of the 45% (89,451) of the Hotline calls that did have a report created, 48% of the reports were “closed at screening” (screened-out) – 42,864 reports screened-out at Screening
- Of the 46,587 screened-in reports, 10.2% of the screened-in reports did not have their assessments completed – 4,733 assessments were not completed within the year
- Of the 41,839 assessed reports that were completed, 4% of the assessed reports were concluded to be “unfounded for abuse.” – 32,806 assessed reports were “unfounded for abuse”
- Thus, out of an estimated 198,789 calls to the Child Abuse Hotline, 9,048 reports (4.6%) were concluded to be “founded for abuse” which identifies the child in that report as a “victim” of child abuse or neglect.
From the 9,048 reports, 13,674 victims of child abuse or neglect were identified.
- Of the 13,674 victims, 9,216 (67.4%) of the victims remained at home, with no safety plan, and the case was closed.
- Of the 13,674 victims, 1,641 (12%) of the victims remained at home with a safety plan.
- Of the 13,674 victims, 2,817 (20.6%) of the victims were removed from their home.
In addition, of the 13,674 victims of child abuse or neglect, 5,757 (42.1%) were younger than 5 years old. 80% or more of child fatalities were to children aged less than 5 years old.
This means that, even if ALL 1,641 children remaining at home with a safety plan PLUS ALL 2,817 children removed from their home were younger than 5 years old, there would still be 1,299 children (9.5% of all victims) younger than 5 years old, who have been identified as a victim of child abuse or neglect, have been left at home, with no safety plan, and the case closed.
The reality is more probable that some of the victims left at home with a safety plan and some victims removed from their home were 5 years old or older. The worst-case scenario is that all 5,757 (42.1%) children younger than 5 years old were left at home, without a safety plan, and the case closed.
Thus, the probability that:
- a child younger than 5 years old,
- identified as a victim of child abuse and/or neglect,
- has been left at home,
- without a safety plan, and
- with the case closed,
- ranges between 9.5% of all victims to 42.1% of all victims – or
- between 1,299 and 5,757 child victims of child abuse or neglect
How many more children needing help have been ignored?
 “What Can You Do About Child Abuse?” Oregon Department of Human Services, DHS 9061 (Revised 5/2017)
 Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2017). Making and screening reports of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.
To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.