In 2008, it was reported that approximately 5,400 children were abused and neglected in Minnesota. These are children who are more likely to have poor academic performance, engage in criminal behavior, and abuse and neglect their own children someday. This is why the Minnesota Department of Human Services works closely with all 87 counties and the 11 American Indian Tribes in order to protect children.
When a case of child abuse or neglect is reported, social services in Minnesota are required to conduct an investigation within 24 to 72 hours to ensure that some kind of maltreatment occurred. If it is determined that maltreatment occurred, then protective services may be needed. These are the steps that child protective services in Minnesota follow:
The collection of information by Minnesota child protective services involves working with the police department or sheriff’s office. If the harm was caused by a guardian, services will be provided. Interviews may also be conducted to determine if abuse definitely happened. These interviews occur with the child, the accused, others who take care of the child, and anyone who may know of the abuse.
Those interviews will be told verbally or in writing why the information is requested, how it is used, that they do have the right to refuse to answer questions, the consequences if questions are not answered, what other agencies have access to the information, and their rights to acquire that information.
The information collected includes:
The child may need to have a medical examination, previous medical records may be retrieved, health professionals may be interviewed, and other facts may be gathered.
All parties involved in the case must be informed within 10 days of the completed assessment investigation of whether or not the child has been maltreated and if social services are needed. Also included is the reasons for all decisions, what rights they have, and what information they can retrieve in regards to the case.
The final part of the investigation is the determination of whether or not Minnesota child protective services are needed. If they are needed, the Minnesota county the child resides in will provide the services and work toward the continued safety of the child. When the case is closed, other information regarding other services that can help the family are provided.
When a child has been abused, criminal charges will be filed against that person for abusing the child. Child abusers are subject to lengthy prison sentences if convicted. In these cases, the child may never be placed in the custody of the abuser again if the abuser was a guardian.