The local Department of Social Services will screen the allegation to determine whether or not what you have reported meets the legal criteria for child abuse and neglect. If the allegation does meet the legal criteria the screener will “screen in” the report and the screening supervisor will then determine the pathway to which the case will be assigned; Alternative Response or Investigative Response. The screening supervisor is responsible for determining the pathway only after review of all information gathered.
It is important that you provide as much information as possible to assist in both the determination of maltreatment as well as to aid in the determination of the appropriate pathway assignment.
Maryland now has a dual pathway system for all CPS cases. Alternative Response is a pathway utilized for lower risk cases which involves a family assessment and family engagement response and in which no “finding” is made.
Investigative Response is the traditional investigation, which focuses more on forensic assessment and in which a “finding” is made.
The intake worker will ask multiple questions to gather as much information as possible regarding the allegation to determine both validity and/or urgency of the referral.
If the report does not meet the legal criteria for maltreatment and/or CPS intervention, the worker may refer the caller to other agencies who can provide services to the family.
The local department cannot share with the caller the status of the referral i.e. screened in or screened out.
The intake worker may request name and contact information in the event that additional information is required at a later time. However, you are not required to give your name.
If the case is “screened in” it will be immediately assigned to a Child Protective Service worker who will make contact with the family to assess the needs of the family and to provide appropriate services.
Cases that are “screened out” may still be referred for services if the case is assessed as being able to benefit from services.