Child Protective Services Intake Screening Lacks Consistency (November 2019)

County social services workers receive referrals of potential child maltreatment at the community level. Workers screen each allegation to decide if a more in-depth assessment should be conducted. County offices vary substantially in the rates of initial referrals that are screened in or out. County Division of Social Services (DSS) directors surveyed by PED attributed this variation to differing local policies, lack of staff familiarity with intake screening procedures, and an absence of consistent and timely central guidance by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). PED found that the current structured intake tool makes the reporting process lengthy and redundant and may also contribute to screening inconsistency.

Final Report

Report Highlights


Mandatory Evaluation Components



Relevant Legislation:

  • H1048/S708 – An act to prohibit county departments of Social Services from implementing child protective services intake screening criteria that is more stringent or lenient than, or in addition to, state policy and to direct DHHS to make various policy changes as a means to improve the child protective services intake screening process. This legislation was not enacted.