Child Protection Investigations

Child Protection

As defined by Minnesota State Statute, an investigation is fact-gathering related to the current safety of a child and the risk of subsequent maltreatment that determines whether child maltreatment occurred and whether child protective services are needed. An investigation must be used when reports involve substantial child endangerment and for reports of maltreatment in licensed facilities. An investigation is completed within 45 days of receiving the report.

 A child protection investigation is completed through the steps below:

Investigators will collect information to determine:

  •  Whether child maltreatment occurred and if harm was caused by something a parent / caretaker did or failed to do
  •  Whether child protection services are needed
  •  Washington County Social Workers will gather information regarding the allegation of maltreatment through interviews.
  •  Interviews are completed with the child, the alleged perpetrator, the parents / caretakers of the child, other children who live with the child or with the alleged perpetrator, and others who may have knowledge of the alleged abuse or neglect. Interviews with the children and parents must be tape-recorded. Interviews resulting from allegations of sexual abuse must be videotaped.
  •  Individuals interviewed are provided with an oral and written data privacy notification. The notification includes: Why we request the information
  • How the information will be used
  • That they may refuse to be interviewed / answer questions
  • What can happen if they do not answer questions
  • What other agencies can receive information regarding this report
  • What rights they have to ask for a reconsideration of a determination

Washington County Social Workers will collect information regarding:

  •  Prior reports of maltreatment
  •  The child / children's ages, genders, and development
  •  The relationship of the reporter to the alleged perpetrator of maltreatment and how the reporter came to know about the alleged abuse
  •  The alleged perpetrator, including age, prior reports of maltreatment or child protection involvement, and criminal history
  •  Other facts that may be relevant and assist in determining if the child or children has / have been maltreated.

Additional information collected during the investigation may include:

  • A medical examination of the child and/or obtaining medical records regarding the alleged maltreatment
  • Interviews of health professionals
  • Other facts that may be relevant and assist in determining if the child or children has / have been maltreated. Additional interviews may be conducted with witnesses and persons with knowledge of the allegations.

Facility Management

When Washington County Community Services receives a report of abuse or neglect in a facility licensed by Washington County Community Services, Minnesota state law mandates that we conduct an investigation to determine whether maltreatment occurred and if protective services are needed. An investigation of maltreatment report in facilities is completed through the steps below: 

If the report is not about child abuse or neglect but involves some other issues, we forward the information to the Minnesota Department of Human Services Licensing Division or other licensing agencies for possible investigation of licensing violations. We coordinate the investigation with responsible licensing agencies, if necessary.

We work with local law enforcement to find out if the child has been maltreated, if the harm was caused by something the facility staff did or failed to do, and if the child is in need of protective services.

We notify the parents and the agency that placed the alleged victim before we interview the children, and may notify parents of children in the facility but who are not the alleged victim.