Child Protective Services (CPS) is responsible to receive and investigate reports of child abuse and neglect, and to provide, arrange for, and monitor services for children and their families. On-call CPS workers perform this function whenever the Agency is closed. The investigation of a report is a fact-finding process that includes interviewing, observing, and information gathering. Its purpose is to protect the child, determine the validity of the allegations, evaluate any condition of abuse or maltreatment that was not reported, and determine the services necessary to ensure the protection of the child and reduce the degree of future risk to the child. The investigation includes an evaluation of all children in the home, whether or not they are actually named in the report.
Within 24 hours of receiving a report of suspected child abuse or maltreatment, an investigation must be initiated and an assessment of the safety of the child done. The law allows CPS 60 days from the time of the receipt of the report to complete a full investigation of the allegations contained within the report, as well as an evaluation of the care being provided to the children. If some credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment exists, the report is indicated and the family is offered appropriate services. If no credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment is found, the report is unfounded and sealed. The caseworker may initiate Family Court action, where necessary, in order to compel the family to accept services or to seek a disposition which separates the children from the offending parent(s).
Our mission is to keep children safe in their community while providing assessment and referral to supportive services for any eligible family. Child Protective Services investigates reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment, assessed the safety of the children named in those reports and works to preserve families whenever possible. The CPS Unit responds to all reports made through the New York State Central Register. These reports can be made by the general public and/or mandated reporters, those numbers are listed below. CPS Caseworkers assess for the safety of all children named in those reports by responding either through a traditional CPS investigation or through Family Assessment Response (FAR), depending on the allegations received in the reports. This response involves an immediate and ongoing assessment of safety, potential risks to the children and needs of the individuals and families who care for these children. All families are treated with respect and compassion by caseworkers who are trained to respond in ways that show cultural competency and an understanding of the unique challenges that modern families face.
Please click the links below to find out more about CPS Investigation and FAR services. Investigations:
In addition to investigation and assessment, the CPS Unit is involved with other community services and initiatives that further serve children and families of Columbia County. Links to services are located at the end.
CPS is a mandatory member of the Columbia County Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT), which meets quarterly and reviews all child fatalities that occur in the County. Additionally, the team provides community prevention services through its sub-committee which includes providing education and materials related to safe sleeping, bicycle safety, car seat safety and suicide prevention through community and school events. These services are available to the public and community partners at their request.
The CPS Unit provides safe sleep education and materials, including pack-n-plays, sheets and sleep sacks free of charge to anyone in need in the County, regardless of involvement with the Department of Social Services.
The Unit provides education to schools and community partners on mandated reporting, child sexual abuse, safe sleeping and abusive head trauma. Any individual or agency interested in receiving an in-service can contact the Unit Supervisor.
The Child Advocacy Center of Columbia County is a child-friendly place where community partners are co-located to most effectively support families during the investigation of child abuse and its prosecution and treatment. This is done in an effort to minimize the trauma to the child and to assist the family in finding support. The Child Abuse Response Team meets monthly to review these cases and do case planning in an effort to assist families during this process.
Mandated Reporting through the State Central Registry (SCR): (SCR) Mandated Reporter Hotline 1-800-635-1522 (SCR) General Hotline 1-800-342-3720 (SCR) Out of State Hotline Domestic Violence Services: http:www.opdv.ny.gov/