The Child Protection Intake Team at the Mesa County Department of Human Services is charged with the task of conducting assessments of referrals received from a variety of sources which allege possible abuse or neglect of children from birth through age 17 who reside in Mesa County. When a referral is received it is reviewed by a supervisory team and may be assigned to a trained child protection intake case manager who will conduct an assessment of the referral’s concerns. The investigation includes s an interview with and/or observation of the child or children who are mentioned in the referral within a response time that could range from "Immediate" to "Five Working Days". The assessment will also include an interview with the parent or parents of the child or children, and may include other people, such as relatives, physicians, school teachers, counselors, who might provide important information to the intake case manager.
The assessment makes three specific conclusions. The first is whether or not the child or children have been abused or neglected. If there is a preponderance of evidence (basically, more than 50% of the evidence) to suggest the child or children have been abused or neglected, a finding of "Founded" child abuse or neglect is made. The second conclusion is the level of risk that exists that the children could be abused in the future. This conclusion is made using a risk assessment screening tool (a form the intake worker will complete). The risk finding can range from low to high. The third conclusion is whether or not the child is safe in his or her home. This conclusion is made using a safety assessment screening tool (another form the intake worker will complete).
Based upon these assessments there are three possible directions the assessment might take. First, if the risk and safety levels are satisfactory the assessment will be closed. Second, if the risk level is of concern to the intake worker they will encourage the family to take voluntary action through a service plan in the community. If there are safety concerns the case manager will develop a "Safety Plan” to address the safety issues. The third option involves the case manager seeking court petition and/or removal of the children from the custody of their parents by court order.
When working with a Child Protection Intake team member, you can expect to be treated respectfully. In addition, they will make every effort to involve you in decisions made about your family and to keep you informed about the progress of your assessment. Any person who is concerned about a child, children, or youth and believes that a report of abuse or neglect of a child, children, or youth needs to be made can do the following:
- A phone report may be made to the Child Protection Hotline at 242-1211, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a situation is urgent, calls may also be made to 911.
- Any person may come to the Community Services building and make a report in person, or go to their local law enforcement agency to report concerns.
- Mail reports may be sent to:
- Mesa County Department of Human Services
- Child Protection Intake
- P.O. Box 20,000-5035
- Grand Junction, CO 81502