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Child protection services

Hennepin County is committed to protecting our most vulnerable residents, our children. When children are harmed or neglected by the people who are responsible for their care, the county has a responsibility to act to ensure their safety.

If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

Call to make a child protection report 612-348-3552.

Browse the directory below for child protection and children's services staff. If your contact is not listed, call 612-348-4111.

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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.

If you are a mandated reporter, you should call to make a report within 24 hours and personally file a written report within 72 hours of the verbal report (excluding weekends and holidays). Please see the Information for mandated reporters section below for additional guidance.

By phone

Call child protection services at 612-348-3552. Press 1 to make a report.

Online

Fill out the online reporting form.

Print

Print out a form, fill out as much information as you can, 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

Screening

Multidisciplinary teams review reports of child maltreatment in order to determine whether or not the report meets the criteria for an investigation or 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.

Assessment or investigation

Cases can be assigned to one of two tracks: assessment or investigation. This is determined by statute and state screening guidelines.

Family Investigation is used when reported information meets criteria for substantial child endangerment, or if there is an immediate child safety concern. Other reports are assigned for Family Assessment, a strengths-based approach that connects families to the resources and services they need to reduce the risk of future child maltreatment.

The investigation process is similar for either track, but a Family Investigation case requires a decision about maltreatment. Family Assessment cases do not result in a maltreatment determination.

Keeping children safe

The mission of child protection is to prevent any future maltreatment (abuse or neglect). If a child is not safe in their 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.

Learn more about foster care and adoption.

The information below provides the statutory definitions of maltreatment. This can provide you with further clarity on how abuse and neglect are defined in Minnesota law. Although you may find this helpful, we ask that if you are in doubt, make a child protection report and let the experts make the final determination.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is when a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the child’s care hurts a child, causing any physical injury, other than by accident.

Sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse is sexual conduct with a child by a person responsible for the child’s care, or by a person who has a significant relationship to the child.

Threatened injury

Threatened injury means a statement, overt act, condition or status that represents a substantial risk of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or mental injury

Mental injury

This kind of abuse is the consistent or deliberate infliction of mental harm on a child by a person responsible for the child’s care, that results in observable, sustained, adverse effect on the child’s physical, mental or emotional development.

Neglect

With neglect, the most common form of maltreatment, the harm results from what the parent or caretaker fails to do to provide a child with needed care and protection.

Usually, this is the failure to:

  • Supply the child with the necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical or mental health care or appropriate supervision
  • Protect the child from conditions or actions that endanger the child

Educational neglect

State law requires children to attend school. For children ages 5 to 11, seven unexcused absences in a school year meet the state guidelines for educational neglect and form the legal criteria for child protection involvement.

The Hennepin County Attorney's office has a program to keep students in school.

Read more on the Hennepin County Attorney's be@school webpage.

State law requires people in designated professional occupations to make a report if they believe that a child has been maltreated within the past three years by a parent, guardian, family child care provider, family foster care provider or juvenile correctional facility staff person.

Mandated reporters include people who work with children in health care, social services, education, mental health, child care, law enforcement, the courts, clergy, and corrections settings.

Read more:

Minnesota statute 260E.06

Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters

Mandated reporters should

Call 911

If a child is in immediate danger, call emergency services. Do not delay.

Make a report

Call 612-348-3552 within 24 hours and personally file a written report within 72 hours of the verbal report (excluding weekends and holidays).

Consequences of inaction

Failure by a mandated reporter to report suspected abuse or neglect is a misdemeanor-level crime. If failure to report results in substantial bodily harm, it is a gross misdemeanor. If the child dies, it is a felony.

Liability

As a mandated reporter, your name is confidential, accessible only if you consent, by a court order or by a court procedure. If the child protection report results in a court hearing, you may be asked to testify.

Learn the outcome

You can find out if the report has been accepted for investigation. Unless this information would be detrimental to the best interests of the child, you also will receive a summary about Hennepin County’s disposition of the report. This summary includes what was determined, the nature of the maltreatment, and the services provided.

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