The purpose of Child Protective Services

That protection of children is a good idea is something most Missouri adults would likely agree on, but according to the state’s Department of Social Services, not everyone is acting on this belief. 

In a fiscal year overview, DSS recounted numbers showing that in 2017, the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline Unit “received over 68,000 reported incidents that involved over 98,000 children in Missouri.” Those figures are staggering. It turns out DSS could substantiate about five percent of those reports, but even five percent – which seems like a low amount – means 5,141 children suffered abuse or neglect in the state in 2017.

The purpose of Child Protective Services

That is why Child Protective Services exists. Its mission, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, is “to promote the well-being, permanency and safety of children and families by helping families care for their children successfully or, when that is not possible, helping children find permanency with kin or adoptive families.” 

What happens when CPS substantiates cases such as those mentioned above? First, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, workers determine the degree of danger present for the children.

The questions investigators ask

Have the abusers left the scene or are they likely to return and continue abusing the kids? Should CPS take the children from the home because the risk is just too great? These are questions investigators may ask. 

If the answer points to the incident being one that is not likely to occur again, CWIG says CPS may close the case altogether. If, however, the children are highly at risk for future abuse, CPS will likely pursue other options.  


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