Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a Child Welfare Service (CWS) area that focuses on preventing, identifying, and treating child abuse and neglect. CPS works to ensure child safety. Efforts are made to maintain and protect the child in the child's own home when safety threats can be managed and controlled. The primary purpose of CPS intervention is to:
- Protect the child;
- Assess family strengths and needs;
- Provide services to remedy the conditions and behaviors that cause abuse, neglect, or safety threats.
Child Welfare Investigation or Assessment FAQ
Q: My family is being investigated and I want to talk to someone. Who should I contact?
A: Your first call is to the Child Welfare Specialist assigned to your child's case. That specialist can help you understand and explain what is going on.
Q: Who is my Child Welfare Specialist?
A:Contact your local Child Welfare Office to find out how to get in touch with your child's case specialist.
Safety Evaluation and the Investigation Safety evaluation is an ongoing process that begins at the time the call is received at the centralized Hotline and ends at case closure. Child Welfare Specialists and supervisors, regardless of their program assignment, are responsible for making sound safety decisions throughout the life of a case. They also assess a parent's protective capacities.
Protective CapacitiesProtective capacities – a parent or guardian's ability to use their skills and resources to keep their children safe. A caregiver's protective capacities are how a person think, feels, and acts to protect their children from harm.
- Diminished protective capacity is a reason for Child Welfare Services (CWS) intervention.
- Sufficient enhanced protective capacity is a reason CWS intervention is no longer necessary.
If the child is found safe during an investigation, the case will be closed and a findings letter will be sent to all Persons Responsible for the Child (PRFC's). These people are usually parents, legal guardians, or other adults in the home, listed on the referral. The Child Welfare Specialist can recommend services and resources that the family would benefit from or that were requested during the CPS investigation or assessment.
During the course of the investigation, if a child is found unsafe, OKDHS has the responsibility of keeping the child safe. This could result in a safety plan (see Family Centered Services) if approved by the parent/ legal guardian, or OKDHS could recommend/request that a judge place the child in OKDHS custody.
Child Safety Meetings
When OKDHS identifies safety concerns, the parent/ legal guardians, child, and Child Welfare staff are required to have a Child Safety Meeting (CSM). A CSM is a collaborative decision-making process to determine the safest place for the child to remain and discuss the level of safety intervention.
- A CSM includes at a minimum: the appropriate CWS staff, the child's parents, parent advocates or representatives, and supports.
- CWS may limit participants as determined to be in the child's best interests.
- CSM Pamphlet