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2002 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 7, No. 4
August 2002

Traditional vs. Alternative Responses to Reports of Child Maltreatment

The following table originally appeared in the spring 2001 issue of Best Practice/Next Practice, the newsletter of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice. It has been adapted to reflect North Carolina's multiple response practice. For additional information on alternative responses in child welfare, we encourage you to read this issue of Best Practice/Next Practice <>.

Traditional vs. Alternative Responses to Reports of Child Maltreatment

(includes Multiple Response)

Report made to hotline or agency designated to receive reports


Screen report—decide if report meets statutory standard for abuse or neglect; decide if emergency response is required


Assign report to investigator in child protective services

Assign report to CPS for either investigation or family assessment

Determine if abuse or neglect can be founded or substantiated

Same if case on investigation track. If on the family assessment track, or another non-investigatory track, determine if the family is in need of services, what would be helpful, and engage family in process to accept services

If founded/substantiated, enter name of alleged perpetrator in state’s central registry according to state procedures

Same for investigative track; with central registry information for other tracks

Conduct assessment to determine case plan

Make necessary referrals to arrange for services. Formal case plans are always completed

Involve court to order services or to determine need for out-of-home placement

Involve court if child has to be placed outside home, placement is voluntary, or case changes track

Provide necessary services


Evaluate progress and change case plan as needed

Evaluate progress and change approach as needed

Close case