Utah law requires any person who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or dependency to immediately notify the nearest office of Child and Family Services, a peace officer, or a law enforcement agency. Abuse, neglect, or dependency of a child can be physical, emotional, or sexual. Child Protective Services is a required service offered to all Utah residents by Child and Family Services. When a child is reported as being abused or neglected, child protection social workers are required by law to make a face-to-face contact with the child and determine if abuse, neglect, or dependency occurred.
Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations
A child’s safety is paramount. The social worker assigned to the case will assess risk and safety to ensure that any immediate protection needs are met. If the social worker determines that the child requires immediate protection, the child is placed into protective custody and taken to a safe environment. In cooperation with the family, strengths and challenges of the family are assessed and the family is linked to needed services and resources, either through Child and Family Services or through other community resources. Social workers provide crisis intervention for children and their families in times of trauma and confusion. Where possible, Child and Family Services works with the family to determine ways to ensure the child’s safety and overall well-being so that the family can be stabilized at the earliest possible time. All reports of abuse, neglect, or dependency are strictly confidential.
Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
The primary goal of Child and Family Services is to protect children from abuse, neglect, or dependency, as well as to serve their family members who may experience violence in the home. In partnership with the community, Child and Family Services supports preventive services and education to families to assist them in protecting their children. The child abuse and neglect prevention programs include programs funded by the Children’s Trust Account (also known as the Children’s Trust Fund). The Children’s Trust Account funds family support centers that operate crisis nurseries and provide prevention education, awareness, and training to school personnel, families, volunteers, and professionals. Child and Family Services also participates on the state Child Abuse and Neglect Council. Presentations on child abuse and prevention can be arranged by contacting the Child and Family Services office in your area.