National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Review of State CPS Policy. Summary


The policy review showed that CPS functions are implemented in general at the local or county level. Many States that are traditionally considered to be State-administered systems delegate responsibility for abuse and neglect to the local counties. Regardless of administrative structure, most State manuals explicitly discussed responsibility for certain functions such as maintaining the hotline, receiving referrals, screening referrals, conducting an investigation, and conducting safety and risk assessments. (See table 2-1.)

Policy in Less Than 33% of States Addressed: Policy in 33-66% of States addressed: Policy in More Than 66% of States Addressed:
Table 2-1:
CPS Administrative Structures and Responsibilities
  • Shared screening of referrals
  • Shared investigation
  • Shared the conduct of risk and safety assessments
  • Shared maintaining the hotline
  • Shared receipt of referrals
  • Maintaining the hotline
  • Receiving referrals
  • Screening referrals
  • Conducting investigation
  • Conducting safety and risk assessments

The CPS agency-- whether State or local--is portrayed in policy as the primary agency responsible for abused and neglected children. Fewer than one-third of the State policy manuals discussed sharing the responsibility for screening, investigation, or conducting assessments with other public or private agencies.

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