National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. Chapter 3. Screening and Intake


This chapter examines local CPS agency practices and procedures for receiving and screening child maltreatment referrals.1 The sections cover CPS practices on receiving and processing referrals, and on the role of the State hotline.

There was little variation in how referrals entered the CPS agencies. Overall, most agencies screened locally, received referrals from individuals, schools or hotlines, and used on-call staff to handle referrals after regular business hours. At the same time, the survey findings revealed that CPS agencies had some flexibility in processing referrals. Agencies utilized multiple response options for both screened-in and screened-out referrals. While most CPS agencies received referrals from their State hotline, they were not bound to the response recommendations or timeline of the hotline.