Alternative Responses to Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS. State Policies on Alternative Response

07/01/2005

Based on a review of policy documents that were available as of April 1, 2005, table 1 shows the circumstances under which States will or will not provide alternative response. In New Jersey, where child welfare assessments are provided to families with a wide range of problems such as homelessness, domestic violence, child or parent substance abuse, their policies did not explicitly identify circumstances under which alternative response could not be provided. Other States take a more restrictive approach by aggressively extracting reports for which alternative response cannot be considered before identifying those for which it can. Alternatively, these differences may result from the style adopted by the State for describing its alternative response system. For example, in Wyoming  where 58 percent of reported children were referred to alternative response  the policy described only the circumstances precluding alternative response, not those that allow it.

Table 1.
State Policies for Alternative Response
Per State Policy, Alternative Response Can Be Provided if: KY MN MO NJ OK WY
Physical Abuse Any alleged inflicted physical injury to a child age five and under No Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Any alleged inflicted physical injury to a child age 6 or 7 No Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated
Minor physical injury in non-critical areas resulting from discipline of a child age 8 and older Yes Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated
Child fatality No No No Not Stated No No
Neglect Food, clothing, shelter, supervision, or hygiene needs are not adequately met Yes Not Stated Not Stated Yes Yes Not Stated
Educational neglect Yes Not Stated Yes Not Stated Yes Not Stated
Child is suicidal, and parents or caregiver not providing appropriate intervention No Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated
Abandonment No No Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Child displaying self destructive behaviors such as eating disorders or self-mutilation, as a result of emotional abuse or neglect No Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse or neglect that does not indicate risk of serious physical harm to the child Yes Not Stated Yes Not Stated Yes Not Stated
Sexual Abuse Child sexual abuse (including solicitation or promotion of prostitution) No No No Not Stated No No
Unfit Parenting Allegations that parent is violent or psychotic Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Homelessness Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated Not Stated
Child's disability, or medical, emotional, or substance abuse problems Not Stated No Not Stated Yes Not Stated Not Stated
Risk of physical or sexual abuse Yes Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated
Baby born exposed to drugs/alcohol Yes Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Baby born dependent on drugs/alcohol No Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated
Domestic violence Yes Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated Not Stated
History of Maltreatment History of prior reports of abuse or neglect that were not serious, or with no indication of escalating seriousness of reports Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated
History of serious allegations of abuse or neglect whether the investigation was confirmed or not Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Ongoing CPS Involvement Abuse or neglect in a child care facility. No No No Not Stated No No
Concerns in a foster family or trial adoptive home including abuse or neglect, physical discipline of a child under age 3, or risk of sexual behavior. No No No Not Stated No No
Concerns in a foster family or trial adoptive home including corporal punishment of a child 35 years of age, or supervision concerns regarding an older school-aged child. Not Stated No No Not Stated Yes Not Stated
Children are in imminent danger and need to be removed from the home No Not Stated No Not Stated No No
Allegations of abuse or neglect, or a new baby born in an open permanency planning or prevention case Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated
Severity of Maltreatment Mild, moderate, or first-time, non-criminal reports of physical abuse or neglect Not Stated Not Stated Yes Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated
Abuse, neglect, or malicious punishment resulting in serious injury, near death, risk for significant harm or injury or requiring medical treatment No No No Not Stated No No
Criminal charges are likely Not Stated Not Stated No Not Stated No Not Stated

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