Blue Earth County Human Services provides services to protect children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Services are initiated when a child protection report is made by either a mandatory or voluntary reporter. Reports are initially screened to see if there is allegation of abuse or neglect that meets criteria as defined by state law. Also see MN Child Maltreatment Screening Guidelines for more information.
The reported concerns are assessed or investigated to determine what is happening with the family. If the safety concerns are not adequately resolved, the family will continue to work with an assigned case manager to develop a plan to mitigate the safety concerns and improve family functioning. The court may become involved as a result of a petition filed for “Children in Need of Protection or Services” (CHIPS). While the agency believes that a child's best interests and protection is usually maximized by maintaining the child at home whenever possible, it is sometimes necessary to seek temporary removal of a child to assure safety.
When children must be separated from their families, the agency tries to place the child or children together and also considers relatives or significant people in the child’s life to the greatest extent possible. Work begins to try and reunify the family as soon as it is safe to do so. When reunification is not possible, other permanent options are then considered, including adoption.
Kinship Care Whenever a child is placed into care, the agency is obligated to consider relatives who are able and willing to provide care for the child, on either a temporary or permanency basis. A placement for a child begins as a temporary situation, while the agency works with parents to try to rectify the situation that led to abuse or neglect. If reunification is unsuccessful, a permanent home for the child will then be found.
All children who are placed must be in licensed homes; so if a relative agrees to be a placement resource, they will be expected to comply with the licensing process.
More information about the need for relative care and the requirements and responsibilities that are involved with the process can be found in the document Family Matters.