The Child Protective Services Unit is required to recognize that children have certain basic needs, which must be provided for, including the need for adequate food, clothing, and shelter; the need to be free from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or exploitation; the need to develop physically, mentally and emotionally to their potential; and the need for a safe and permanent family. It is also a paramount goal of this unit to protect children and unborn children, and when appropriate, strengthen family life through assisting parents in fulfilling their responsibilities.
What is child abuse and neglect?
Per Wisconsin State Statute, child abuse is the physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment of a child by a caretaker or non-caretaker. Physical abuse involves cuts, broken or fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, or "severe and frequent bruising" inflicted on a child by other than accidental means. Sexual abuse involves sexual intercourse, other sexual contact, or exploitation. Child neglect is the failure of a parent or other caregiver to provide necessary care, food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for reasons other than poverty so as to seriously endanger the physical health of a child.
How to report child protection concerns?
If you believe that a child has been abused or neglected, you should report your concerns to the Jefferson County Human Services Department. You can contact the Department 24 hours a day at 920.674.3105. Per State Statute, the names and identifying information of reporters is kept confidential by this agency, however, a person may report child protection concerns anonymously.
What will happen when concerns are reported?
Upon contacting this agency, an intake worker will document your report. It is of extreme importance that you have at least basic information such as names, ages, and addresses of family members. It is also very helpful to give as much detail and information possible about the suspected abuse or neglect. The more information a reporter is able or willing to provide to the intake worker, the better subsequent agency decision making will be. A supervisor will review the report and decide if a situation warrants action on the part of the child protective services unit. Should the case be screened in and assigned to an Initial Assessment Worker for intervention, the worker will interview children and family members regarding the maltreatment concerns, per Investigation Standards. We will do this in an attempt to assess child safety, as well as maltreatment risks and other family strengths and needs. Upon completion of the investigation, the assigned worker will then make a decision as to whether the maltreatment is substantiated or not as defined under State Statute. The assigned worker will also then make decisions as to what subsequent action may be taken and what services might benefit the children and family.