Intake, Assessment and Investigations
4071 E. Main St. Whitehall, OH 43213
24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline: (614) 229-7000
General Questions: (614) 229-7100
Franklin County Children Services is mandated by law to assess concerns related to child abuse, neglect and dependency. When we are notified about a concern for a child, staff from the intake assessment and investigations department respond to it.
A family's contact with the intake assessment and investigations department will last from 1 to 60 days depending on the circumstances of the concern. If significant concerns still exist at the end of 60 days, the family's case may be transferred to a caseworker in an ongoing case management department.
The intake assessment and investigations department consists of caseworkers, aides and administrators whose primary focus is to ensure the safety of children in Franklin County.
Staff from the screening unit are available 24 hours a day to answer calls placed to (614) 229-7000, the Franklin County Children Services Child Abuse Hotline. Screeners listen to the caller's concerns, ask pertinent questions about the circumstances surrounding the concern, document the call, then pass the information to an administrator who decides what response will be made. Typically, the concern will either be screened in for follow up by a caseworker, or screened out because it does not meet the guidelines required for our agency to become involved with a family. Screeners also can provide information related to community services that may be beneficial to the caller.
The intake assessment and investigations department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our agency understands that families' schedules often do not allow them to be available during the day. Caseworkers, supervisors and support staff are available during non-traditional working hours to quickly respond to any issues concerning children's safety. These staff also are available to meet with families in the evening and speak to those who come directly to the intake assessment and investigations office. Off-shift staff answer calls made to the 24-hour child abuse hotline.
Traditional Response to Concerns for Child Safety
When serious allegations of abuse or neglect are made, a caseworker will be assigned to ensure the safety of the child(ren) and perform an investigation to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred. In the traditional response pathway, one or more children are considered alleged victims and one or more persons are considered alleged perpetrators. The investigation will result in a determination of whether abuse or neglect has occurred.
Alternative Response to Concerns for Child Safety
When less serious concerns are raised, the alternative response pathway may be used. A caseworker will be assigned to ensure child safety and assess the needs of the child and family. Children are not labeled victims and there is no alleged perpetrator. A formal determination of whether or not a child was abused or neglected is not made.
Child Assessment Center
Three units of caseworkers are housed at Nationwide Children's Hospital inside The Center for Family Safety and Healing. These caseworkers are part of a multidisciplinary team that includes medical staff, police officers, prosecutors, victim advocates and therapists. This team primarily focuses on children who are alleged to have been sexually abused.