Child Welfare

Overview of Child Protection

Child Welfare Services Practice Model

Child protective supervisors in eight Maine regions decide the next step in following up on reports to the child protective 800 line (central intake). They have two options:

  • They can refer the report to a ARP (Alternative Response Program)Community Intervention Agency
    Community intervention agencies are private agencies contracted to Child and Family Services to help families reduce the risk of child abuse or neglect. The eight agencies currently providing these services are Community Concepts, Community Health and Counseling Services, Families United, Home Counselors, Waldo County Preschool, Youth and Family Services, Youth Alternatives (Cumberland County), and Youth Alternatives (York County). Close
    , private agencies contracted to Child and Family Services. These agencies offer services or coordinate services designed to reduce the risk of child abuse or neglect - such as counseling, substance abuse treatment or parenting education.
  • When risk is severe, supervisors assign a child protective caseworker from Child and Family Services. Caseworkers do a safety assessment, looking specifically at whether each child in the home is safe and, if not, what must be done to keep each child safe. Before this work begins, caseworkers provide A Handbook for Parents (Word version - Adobe PDF version) (free viewer), explaining the rights of parents and children and key points about safety assessment.

The safety assessment and other follow-up assessments identify parental behaviors and family factors that influence the likelihood of a child being abused. Research shows that understanding these factors produces the most accurate decisions about child safety and potential for future maltreatment.

  • The child protective caseworker also makes a determination about whether child abuse or neglect has occurred or is likely to occur. This is called the preliminary safety decision. The decision is based on whether a
    A case is substantiated when, by a preponderance of the evidence in the record taken as a whole, it is established that abuse or neglect has occurred or is threatened to occur. Information in the record may include but not be limited to, Safety and Risk Assessment tools utilized by Child and Family Services, Department of Health and Human Services; medical, mental health or other treatment records or histories; interviews with family members; observations; analysis; criminal history records; court records; motor vehicle records; prior history with Child and Family Services, Department of Health and Human Services. Close
    establishes that abuse or neglect has occurred or is likely to occur. If abuse or neglect has not occurred and is unlikely to occur, the report is
    When a report is unsubstantiated the record of that report is expunged after 18 months, unless new reports are received during that time frame. Close
    and the involvement of Child and Family Services ends. If abuse or neglect has occurred or is likely to occur, Child and Family Services must consider several options.