Children services agencies also can open a traditional investigation, which leads to official findings, a case plan and possibly court intervention.
A Dayton Daily News investigation earlier this month found that most Montgomery County Children Services cases that are opened are handled as alternative response. Our investigation found the local agency fell short in state reviews of meeting standards for both alternative response and traditional response cases.
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Of the 10,450 reports of possible abuse or neglect received in 2019, 3,782 led to an agency investigation. Most of these — 2,036 — were handled as alternative response cases.
Data provided by Children Services shows a reduction in Alternative Response cases from 2,440 in 2015 to 2,036 last year. Total investigations grew during these years.
The decision about whether to screen in a case and designate it alternative response or traditional investigation falls to agency supervisors and is guided by state law.
“To determine whether a referral meets the criteria to be accepted as a report and assigned for assessment/investigation, the information provided by the referent/reporter should indicate that a child is suspected of being abused or neglected or was abused and/or neglected, that a child is dependent (or suspicion thereof), or that a family is in need of services,” according to state rules.
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