Hennepin County investigates and assesses child protection reports when a child's safety may be at risk due to abuse or neglect. Anyone may make a report if they know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected.
Report child abuse or neglect
You can report suspected child maltreatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A child protection social worker will assist you even if you are not sure whether or not to make a report.
You have three options for reporting abuse or neglect to a child.
- Call child protection services at 612-348-3552. Press 1 to make an oral report.
- Open the online reporting form. Fill out as much information as possible and click “submit at the bottom of the form. This form is best viewed and submitted using Internet Explorer.
Online reporting form (PDF)
- Print out a form, fill it out and fax it to 612-466-9581.
Printable reporting form (PDF)
Be prepared to provide information
- Information about the family, including the names and addresses of the child and parents
- Specific descriptions of the suspected abuse and neglect to the child, including what happened, when it occurred and the identity of the abuser
Other helpful information
- The child’s school
- Other witnesses
- The child’s location
- Names of other family and household members
After the report
Intake workers review reports of child maltreatment in order to determine whether or not the report meets the criteria for an investigation/assessment.
If the report doesn’t meet the criteria requiring an investigation or assessment, no further action is taken. However a record of the report will be recorded and maintained.
Traditional response versus differential response
In either situation, a thorough assessment of the allegations for abuse and or neglect will be addressed, along with the risk to safety and a determination whether continued services are required for the family.
If the reported information meets the criteria for substantial child endangerment (severe cases of abuse and neglect), or the risk level is high, the family will be subject to a traditional response, which calls for immediate contact with the family and children, as well as individual interviews to determine whether abuse or neglect occurred.
If the risk level is moderate or low the family may receive a differential response (formerly called family assessment). Differential response focuses on the safety of the child, the risk of future maltreatment, and the family’s strengths and needs. Determining the need for services, and which services will best protect the children, is at the heart of differential response.
Keeping children safe
The mission of child protection is to prevent any future maltreatment (abuse or neglect). If a child is not safe in his or her home, it may be necessary to place the child outside of the home. If out-of-home placement is necessary, due to significant and ongoing safety issues, work will continue with the parents toward the goal of returning the child home as soon as it is safe to do so. In cases when a safe return to the parents' home is not possible, alternative, permanent options are identified, which could include transfer of legal custody or adoption.
When neglect or abuse occurs away from home
Minnesota law gives Hennepin County the authority and responsibility to investigate reports of abuse or neglect of a child when the suspected abuser is a person in the child’s family or household, a licensed family child care home, or the child’s foster home. The State of Minnesota is responsible to investigate suspected maltreatment that occurs in places such as child care centers, schools or hospitals.
Report suspected child abuse or neglect outside of the child's home (PDF)