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After I report

Screening Decisions

After the intake worker gathers information from the reporter regarding the concern, background checks, and follow-up contacts are conducted as needed. Once all possible information regarding the family and the reported concerns are collected, the report is then analyzed to determine whether the report meets investigation criteria and will be screened in for an investigation and assessment or screened out with no intervention by OCS.

If the report is screened in for investigation and assessment, the next decision involves how quickly OCS needs to respond to the reported concerns. There are several considerations involved: does the reported information indicate the child’s safety is threatened or the child is at high risk of maltreatment?; does the perpetrator have access to the child?; is the child’s primary caregiver protective?; and/or are there any caregivers who will act to protect the child? If it is determined that the child is in immediate danger, OCS will respond as quickly as possible. If OCS is unable to physically respond, OCS will request assistance from law enforcement. After receiving and accepting a report for investigation and assessment, there are three response-time decisions that can be made which determine how quickly OCS begins its investigation and assessment; these response times are called priorities. When a report is determined to be a priority 1, a face-to-face contact must be made with the alleged child victim within 24 hours. A priority 2 requires a 72-hour response and a priority 3 must be initiated within 7 days of receiving the Protective Services Report. The screened in report may be shared with law enforcement, a child advocacy center and/or a Tribe in order to coordinate the investigation of the allegations in the report. The reporter’s name/identity is not shared.

If the report is screened out: If the report does not meet the investigation criteria the report is maintained in the file for future reference. A screened-out report may provide additional information which can influence whether a subsequent report is screened in or screened out. A screened-out report may be shared with law enforcement if there is a possibility that law enforcement will investigate. The report is also shared with the child’s Tribe if one is identified. The reporter’s name/identity is not shared.

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