Child Protection & Family Assessment Response

If you suspect a child under age 18 is being abused, neglected, or maltreated, call 800-342-3720.

Child Protective Services (CPS)

Child Protective Services is the only government entity that is required to investigate child abuse and maltreatment reports within families to protect children (under 18 years old) from further abuse or maltreatment and to provide rehabilitative services to children, parents, and other family members involved. Reports of child abuse and maltreatment are called into the New York State Central Registry (SCR), also known as the Hotline and then the Hotline relays the information from the calls to the local Child Protective Services unit for investigation. The Hotline receives calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week - even on holidays. If you suspect that a child under age 18 is being abused, neglected, or maltreated, then call the Hotline at 800-342-3720.

After the local Child Protective Services unit receives the report from the Hotline, it initiates an investigation within 24 hours to assess the immediate safety of the child(ren) and then to examine the allegations of maltreatment in each report. The investigation of a report is a fact-finding process that includes interviewing, observing, and information gathering. The investigation includes an evaluation of all children in the home, whether or not they are actually named in the report. The purpose of the investigation is to initially protect the child(ren) and then to evaluate for any condition that increases the risk of future abuse. Child Protective Services also determines if any services are necessary to ensure the safety of the child(ren) or to reduce the degree of future risk to the child(ren). In cases where neglect or abuse exists, Child Protective Services provides or arranges for services to ensure the children’s safety and/or to decrease the risk of future abuse. Child Protective Services works to preserve and stabilize family life whenever possible.

Family Assessment Response (FAR)

In March 2011, Madison County adopted an alternative approach for some Child Protective Services reports of child maltreatment called Family Assessment Response (FAR). FAR can only be used when caseworkers determine that there is no immediate danger to children and where there are no allegations of serious child abuse. The Child Protective Services unit will decide if a report can be addressed through FAR or if it needs to be addressed through a traditional investigation. FAR does not require an investigation or determination of allegations reported to the SCR. It is an alternative approach to providing protection to children by engaging families in an assessment of child safety and of family needs in finding solutions to family problems and in identifying informal and formal supports to meet their needs and increase their ability to care for their children.

The FAR approach is voluntary and the person alleged to be engaged in child maltreatment has the option of FAR or the traditional investigation. FAR is family centered and family led. It builds on families’ strengths and responds to their individual needs. The approach is solution focused. Although the FAR approach is voluntary, it is still a Child Protective response and caseworkers must always protect child safety first and foremost. Caseworkers and families are both constantly assessing safety and risk for the families’ children. If, while working with a family, a FAR caseworker has serious concerns about the immediate safety of a child, the Child Protective Services would have to open an investigation and stop using FAR.

Who Are Mandated Reporters?

CPS reports come from two sources: persons who are required by law - or mandated - to report suspected cases of child abuse and maltreatment; and calls from non-mandated reporters, including the public.

Some of the professionals who are mandated to make reports are:

  • Child care workers
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Medical and hospital personnel
  • Residential care workers and volunteers
  • School officials
  • Social services workers

Additional Information

Find more information on Child Protective Services or for information on child abuse prevention: