Assessment / Investigation

Assessment / investigation is the 2nd step to child protection. Once a case is assigned by intake, a child protection assessment is conducted to determine whether child maltreatment has occurred.

Assessment Activities

This assessment is completed within 45 days and the activities include:

  • Assessing risk of harm to family members
  • Coordinating with law enforcement
  • Determining if maltreatment has occurred (Investigation)
  • Documentation of these activities
  • Interviewing children, parents or other caretakers
  • Making recommendations on how to reduce the risk of further harm
  • Speaking with collateral contacts (friends, neighbors, relatives, etc.)
  • Working with the County Attorney's Office or juvenile court

Family Assessments

As defined by Minnesota Statute, a "family assessment" is a comprehensive assessment of child safety, risk of subsequent child maltreatment, and family strength and needs that is applied to a child maltreatment report that does not allege substantial child endangerment. Family assessment does not include a determination if child maltreatment occurred, but does determine the need for services.

The goals of family assessment are:

  • Assess for the child(ren)'s safety and risk of maltreatment
  • Build a partnership between parents and social workers
  • Ensure the safety of child(ren)
  • Identify and build on the existing family strengths
  • Identify the family's needs and provide services
  • Minimize negative labeling of parents involved in the child protection system
  • Utilize county resources in the most effective manner to help meet needs of families


As defined by Minnesota Statute 626.556, Subdivision 2(c), an "investigation" is a fact gathering related to the current safety of a child and the risk of subsequent maltreatment which will determine if child maltreatment occurred and whether child protective services are needed. An investigation must be used when reports involve substantial child endangerment and for reports of maltreatment in licensed facilities.

The goals of investigation are:

  • Ensure the safety of child(ren).
  • Assess for the child(ren)'s safety and risk of maltreatment.
  • Identify and build on existing family strengths.
  • Identify the family's needs and provide case management services if needed.
  • Inform alleged perpetrator, parent/guardian, and mandated reporter of the outcome of the assessment within 10 days of case closure.
  • Use information gathered to make a determination if abuse or neglect has occurred.