Debunking Common Myths About the Child Protection System
In part one of an exclusive 2018 Newsymom.com series, Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services works to debunk common myths about the Child Protection System.
Public Children Services Agencies (PCSA’s) exist in every county in Ohio. The goal of the dedicated professionals in these agencies is to ensure children are safe and healthy. Many people from the general public have different ideas of child welfare and what it does. Hopefully, this additional information will shed light on common misconceptions.
- If I call and make a report, my identity will be revealed to the parent or family.
This is absolutely incorrect. The Ohio Revised Code protects the identity of persons who report child abuse or neglect. In fact, any employee who provides this information is subject to criminal prosecution. The name of a reporter is not maintained in the file and cannot be disclosed, even in a court hearing. Sometimes parents guess who may have made a report, but this information is never made public or disclosed.
- I only have a suspicion that something is wrong with a family–I can’t prove anything–so I shouldn’t make a report.
Simple suspicion or concern is enough to warrant a report to a PCSA. If you are concerned enough to worry about the safety and well-being of a child, then the best course of action is to make a call. It is the job of the PCSA to determine if there is a reason for concern based on a thorough investigation. It is much better to make a report that turns out to be nothing than to fail to make one where something very serious may be going on.
- Why should I keep making calls about this family; the agency never does anything about the situation.
When and how the PCSA intervenes is based on a number of factors. The State of Ohio has issued a guideline on screening cases to determine what types of scenarios warrant further investigation. These are only guidelines, but help inform the work of the person making that decision. Also, just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean there isn’t something happening. PCSA investigations and interventions are private matters that are not open to public knowledge or information in most situations. Just like the identity of a reporter is kept confidential, agency intervention with a family is also dealt with as privately as possible.
- PCSA’s like to remove kids from homes for no reason and tear apart good families.
No responsible PCSA employee ever wants to remove children from their home, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary to ensure their immediate safety. Those are the hardest decisions made by child welfare professionals. Every attempt is made to keep children safe in their own home by providing services and resources. And when that is not possible, the PCSA will explore options to keep the child safe with a family member or friend. Anytime a child is removed from their home, it is only done by order of the juvenile court, and with parents having a full review of the circumstances in front of a judge or magistrate. Once a child is removed (in almost every case) the agency has a legal obligation to work with the family to ensure the child can go home safely by helping eliminate the concerns that caused them to be removed.
Please be a hero for a child in need. You can call and report concerns with the care or circumstance of a child by calling your local PCSA:
Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services (330) 339-7791
Stark County Job & Family Services (330) 455-5437
You can also access a directory of all PCSA’s in Ohio here.
As part of this exclusive Newsymom.com series, in 2018 Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services will provide a monthly article that targets important issues affecting local parents and children.