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However, please remember that laws vary state to state, so it's important to look into your state's laws. Filing a Social Services Report Connecting with a dispatcher: When you first contact social services, you will be connected with a dispatcher, who is only trained in accepting reports.
They will not be able to investigate the matter themselves nor provide you with any specific information. However, the dispatcher can tell you how the investigation will be conducted, what they usually do next, and what else you can do to help. However, they cannot share private information about the matter with you.
The dispatcher will ask you for your name, your telephone number, and your location. If you would rather make an anonymous report, you can state as such or you can provide an alias or false name. However, regardless of the name you provide, you should provide a working telephone number—this will allow social services to contact you again if they need any additional information to help them investigate your report.
If you absolutely cannot give your telephone number, then offer an e-mail address instead. Information about the abuse in question: After gathering your contact information, the dispatcher will then ask you about the abuse you want to report.
If you know where the victim goes to school or works, give this information as well. Provide as much information as you can, even if you think what you know is irrelevant.
The more information you offer, the better chance social services has to stop the abuser. Conversely, if you do not know much about the situation, then provide what little information you have. Social services will do their best to fill in the rest.
The Social Services Investigation Assigning a caseworker: After receiving your report, a caseworker will be assigned to investigate your suspicions. Most agencies investigate reports of child abuse and neglect within 24 to 72 hours depending on state laws.
Afterwards, the caseworker will visit with and interview the alleged abuser and the parents if they are not one in the same. Imminent danger will be determined. If the caseworker believes the victim is in imminent danger and the victim is living with the abuser, the caseworker may remove the victim from the residence immediately.
If the victim is a minor child, the child may be temporarily placed with other relatives or put into foster care until the investigation concludes. If no imminent danger is apparent, the caseworker will not do anything at that time. After completing the initial investigation, the caseworker will discuss their findings with their superior, and the two will work together to decide if abuse is apparent and what should happen next.
The caseworker may return for another, more thorough investigation if social services determine this is necessary. If social services believe there is no abuse: If social services determine that no abuse took place, nothing will happen to the family. The caseworker may visit once more for a quick interview, or they may not visit again at all.
The family will then receive a letter clearing them from any wrongdoing, and social services will officially close the matter. If social services believe there is abuse: If social services believe that abuse did occur, then the agency will take steps to correct the situation.
In less severe cases, the caseworker may offer counseling, training, and other family support services to the abuser. In more severe cases, the victim may be removed on a more longterm—but still temporary—basis until the abuser can demonstrate that they are fit to regain custody or guardianship again.
Remember that the goal for social services is to keep families together, but they have a legal responsibility to protect children from neglect and abuse. If this happens, the victim may be placed in long-term foster care, put under the guardianship of another relative, or placed for adoption.
No one other than social services will ever know you are the one who made the report. The dispatcher and the caseworker are the only ones who will likely know your name and will not release it to the abuser, the victim, or anyone else.
Your report will also be protected. The only way anyone other than social services will know you made the report is if you tell them yourself. Regardless of the outcome, all 50 states exempt individuals who report abuse from any civil or criminal liability, even if your suspicions prove wrong, provided you made the report in good faith.The Guardian - Back to home.
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