State policies emphasized different purposes of alternative response options. (See table 5–D.) (Responses were not mutually exclusive.)
- Eleven States (55.0%) identified child safety as a purpose of the alternative response;
- Nine States (45.0%) identified family preservation or strengthening as a purpose of the response; and
- Four States (20.0%)identified preventing child abuse and neglect as a purpose.
These broad categories included such descriptions as follows:
- Support the ability of CPS to respond to all reports;
- Provide a response to physical abuse that does not require criminal investigation and allows for necessary services;
- Provide a modified approach for those families with low risk. Provide less threatening community-based assessment, thus hopefully leading to more receptiveness of services;
- Determine and facilitate appropriate service responses for families not within the required mandate but who would benefit from services;
- Assess the situation and create a safety plan for lower-risk cases, thus leaving the more serious allegations to the investigative track;
- Provide services without assigning blame for nonabuse and neglect reports;
- Emphasize partnering the families with the community and creating a network for the family;
- Protect children and assist parents to recognize and remedy conditions harmful to their children;
- Provide preventive services before the need of CPS involvement is required; and
- Prevent the family from potentially being re-referred.