The Use of Safety and Risk Assessment in Child Protection Cases - South Dakota

Date: March 2021

Safety Assessment

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:14:30:01; CPS Booklet

'Child protective services' are services provided to a child for whom there is alleged abuse or neglect. These services may include assessment of child abuse and neglect reports, evaluating whether a child is exposed to threats to safety, assessment of a parent's or caretaker's ability to protect the child, establishment of a present danger plan, provision of emergency foster care, establishment of a safety plan, and interventions and services to change negative behaviors and conditions that make a child unsafe.

From the CPS Booklet: Protective services are provided for children and their parents in situations where children are unsafe because of abuse and neglect. It includes intake and screening of referrals of child abuse and neglect involving families who have a caretaking responsibility for children. Referrals are assigned for an initial family assessment.

An initial family assessment is a neutral approach to gathering information in response to a report of suspected child abuse or neglect. Information is gathered through interviews and observations. It also includes a determination as to the validity of the allegations in the report, a determination whether there are any other abuse or neglect issues, a determination as to the immediate safety and needs of the child, and a determination of danger to the child through identification of specific threats to child safety.

Safety Decisions and Safety Planning

Citation: CPS Booklet

If it is determined the child is unsafe, a child protection services (CPS) family services specialist will develop a protective capacity assessment with the parents to change the conditions in the home causing the child to be unsafe. If a child appears to be in immediate danger, a judge may order removal of the child from the situation or a law enforcement officer may take protective custody.

Support services also are available to families when there are danger threats regarding abuse and neglect of children. Support services include training for families in parenting skills and home management. These services also provide referrals for counseling and other assistance.

The following are examples of support services CPS offers:

  • Present danger plans allow CPS to consider an alternative to children being placed into protective custody during the completion of the initial family assessment when it is indicated the child is unsafe. An example could be the parents can voluntarily allow children to be cared for by other caregivers or the alleged maltreater could leave the home.
  • Safety plans are used following the completion of the initial family assessment when danger threats are present. A safety plan gives the parents and CPS additional time to make a better determination as to what services are needed to help manage the child's safety. A safety plan requires coordination with individuals, such as other family members, treatment providers, school representatives, day care providers, etc., who can assist the parent in managing safety.

Risk Assessment

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Family Strengths and Needs Assessment to Determine Service Needs

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Ongoing Assessment to Evaluate Progress on the Service Plan

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Assessment for Reunification and/or Case Closure

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.