CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES
Our mission is to protect children and the community while strengthening families and promoting their self-sufficiency. Child Protective Services receives reports in the Access Office with concerns for neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse/damage. A number of factors are considered with regards to a child’s vulnerability, including but not limited to: age, cognitive/behavioral developmental level, and ability to communicate needs. Wisconsin Standards and Statutes are followed to ensure the safety of children ages 0-18 years of age and unborn children who may be at risk due to an expectant mother’s habitual drug abuse. The goal is for children to remain safely in their homes and our department is committed to working with families to make this possible. If a family has a high level of needs to address the child’s safety, the county may file a Child In Need of Protection and Services (CHIPS) petition with the courts to provide ongoing services. Additional actions may be taken to ensure the safety of the child, such as Protective Planning with the family in the home or taking Temporary Physical Custody of the child. When this happens, our agency does our best to work with the family and their supports to plan for the child’s safety.
MAKING A REPORT
Any person who has concerns for child abuse and/or neglect can make a report regarding their concerns to the county where the child resides. Reports of child abuse or neglect may be made in person, by phone, or by email. Mandated reporters are required by law to make reports by phone or in person. A complete list of mandated reporters can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions.
Monday-Friday 8am-12pm and 1-4:30pm (Excluding holidays)
After Hours Emergency Situations: Columbia County Sheriff’s Office 608-742-4166
When calling the Access Office, please keep in mind the social worker may not be immediately available and a voicemail may need to be left. Voicemails will be returned in a timely manner or the following business day if it is after hours. If it is an emergency and you need immediate assistance, please contact Law Enforcement.
AFTER A REPORT IS MADE
A supervisor has 24 hours to screen a report to determine what actions, if any, the agency will take. If a report does not meet the level of need for an investigation, it may be assigned to a worker to offer services on a voluntary basis. Reports are screened with a response time of same day, 24-48 hours, or 5 business days for an initial assessment. Assessments are completed within 60 days to assess for safety, determine if maltreatment occurred, and decide whether or not the family needs to be referred for ongoing services.
Mandated Reporters will automatically receive a letter within 60 days providing limited information regarding the outcome of the report made. Relative reporters may request in writing (mail, email, or fax) the outcome of the report made. Once the request is received by the agency, a letter containing limited information regarding the outcome of the report will be mailed within 60 days. For confidentiality, non-mandated reporters and non-relatives cannot receive information about the report made unless there is a release of information on file that the family signed.