Grant County Social Services is mandated by federal and state laws to provide child protective services to protect children whose health or welfare may be jeopardized through physical abuse, mental injury neglect, or sexual abuse. This is a major responsibility and is taken very seriously by this department.
While it is recognized that most parents want to keep their children safe, sometimes circumstances or conditions interfere with their ability to do so. When this occurs, families are best served by interventions that engage them in addressing the immediate safety concerns and by providing family support and family preservation services.
Grant County Social Services believes that a child’s best interests and protection is usually maximized by maintaining the child at home whenever possible. However, it is sometimes necessary to seek temporary removal of a child to assure safety.
When children must be separated from their families, the agency moves to place each child in the least restrictive living arrangement – one familiar to the child and most closely resembling a family setting. This placement may be with appropriate relatives, friends, or in a foster care home.
The agency must make efforts to reunify the child and family as soon as it is safe to do so. Children need to feel they belong to a permanent family. In some cases, it is not possible to assure safe return to the parental home.
When reunification is not possible, a child’s need for a permanent home demands that the agency move just as quickly to provide the child with a permanent family through adoption or transfer of permanent physical and legal custody to a relative or someone with whom the child has a significant attachment.
If the child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local police department.
Anybody can make a voluntary report of suspected child abuse or neglect if that person has reason to believe that a child has been mistreated. Others are mandated to report by .
If you are unsure if you should make a report, call the 218-685-8200 and ask for INTAKE. The identity of the reporter is always kept confidential.
A mandated reporter must call immediately, but no later than 24 hours after they suspect that maltreatment has occurred. The mandated reporter must follow up with a written report within 72 hours. A report can be made to your local county social services agency or to law enforcement.
If making a report during normal business hours, please call 218-685-8200 and ask for Intake, or you may complete the Mandated Reporting Form in its entirety and email or fax to 218-685-4978.
If you need to make a report after hours, please call Grant County Sheriff's Department dispatch 218-685-8280.
Reports alleging inadequate supervision or child care arrangements may be screened-in for a child protection response, including:
• Children age 7 and under who are left alone for any period of time
• Children ages 8-10 who are left alone for more than three hours
• Children ages 11-13 who are left alone for more than 12 hours
• Children ages 14-15 who are left alone for more than 24 hours
• Children ages 16-17 may be left alone for more than 24 hours with a plan in place concerning how to respond to an emergency.
Reports alleging inadequate child care arrangements may be screened in for a child protection response according to the following guidelines:
• Children under age 11 should not provide child care
• Children ages 11-15 who are placed in a child care role are subject to the same time restrictions of being left alone as listed above
• Children ages 16-17 may be left alone for more than 24 hours with adequate adult back up supervision.
Modifying factors affecting screening decisions include:
• A child’s age, mental ability and maturity level.
• The accessibility of the parent/guardian/or designated caretaker to a child by phone and/or in person.
• The presence of intellectual deficits, psychological problems, or mental health concerns; the existence of physical problems or disabilities.
• The behavioral history of a child, including suicidal thoughts or actions, fire setting, delinquency, vandalism or assault.
• A child’s age, if using the kitchen stove, an iron or other appliance.
• The establishment of a well understood escape plan that has been worked out by the parent(s), or fire drill practice that has been rehearsed with a child. The presence of a working fire/smoke detector in the home.
• The presence of unusual hazards in the home.
• A child feeling confident and safe when left alone