How many CPS reports does it take to protect a child in danger?

In an ideal world, the answer to that question is never more than one. However, I have recently learned of a case in North Dakota where more than ten reports of child abuse were filed with the Department of Human Services and not a single report led to a proper investigation.

In one instance, the local Child Protective Services worker did contact the reporting party. When the reporting party claimed they were no longer concerned for the child’s safety, the worker appallingly closed the case.

To my mind, the only reason a reporter of child abuse would retract their statement is if they had been threatened by that child’s abuser. At the very least, a reporter would speak to the abuses they had witnessed which prompted the initial report.

Unfortunately, I don’t know who this CPS worker was. I don’t know what type of training or education they had recieved in conducting a sensitive investigation. It is possible they had recieved no training whatsoever. In many smaller counties, it is not uncommon for there to be a shortage of qualified social workers.

In Barnes County, there is a CPS worker whose education is in Human Resources. This worker has no educational backing in human services or in conducting an investigation where a child’s safety is at risk. When it comes to the safety of our kids, we must do better by them.


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