Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Department of Human Services

Child Protective Services Division

Child protection workers use a statewide model premised on the belief that the role and purpose of Child Protective Services is to assess family conditions, circumstances, and behaviors to determine if families need agency services to keep their children safe and to provide and coordinate such services when needed.

Report Abuse or Neglect
Signs, Symptoms & When to Report

Our protective services model reflects the following principles:

  • Families are the fundamental foundation of our society.
  • The health and safety of the child is the paramount value in CPS intervention, and the best environment for providing health and safety is a permanent family.
  • It is the CPS workers' job to encourage and assist families to change behaviors and conditions that create threats to safety and risk to children.
  • Successful intervention requires a high level of family involvement in determining the focus and design of treatment and safety plans.
  • Child safety is a product of family and community systems, as well as, the actions of individuals.



Intake Services

Intake staff assesses allegations of child abuse and neglect. They also assess cases regarding general child welfare concerns, i.e., children affected by serious emotional disturbance or drug-affected newborns. Intake staff performs initial assessments on cases that are screened in. Once the assessment is complete, a decision is made as to whether the allegations of abuse and/or neglect are substantiated and whether to open the case formally or informally for ongoing services. Mandated reporters will receive a letter regarding the outcome of the investigation. If cases are not transferred for Ongoing Services, families are often given information about many of the purchase of service (POS) agencies that may also assist them.

One of the tools that may be used as part of the investigation process is the Safe Harbor Interview Center.


Ongoing Child Protective Services

CPS Ongoing Services are provided once a CPS case is transferred from the Intake Social Worker to a CPS Ongoing Social Worker. The goal of the ongoing Social Worker is to assist the family to successfully complete the conditions of the court order or voluntary agreement. Assistance includes supervision and case management services including oversight of out-of-home placement situations. The level of involvement, frequency of contact, and types of services depend on the needs of the child and family, results of the family assessment and development of the case plan, the potential for further child maltreatment, what has been court-ordered, and evaluation of progress toward goals. There may be referrals, as appropriate, to community-based services.