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Reporting Process

What can I expect when I call OCS?

OCS receives your information and screens the case to evaluate the situation and prioritize the case. The OCS assessment includes face-to-face contact with the child, parent(s), caretaker(s), sibling(s) and others residing in the household as well as others who have relevant information. The OCS worker may not be able to tell you what action will be taken or how quickly because information about the case is confidential. A report to OCS may result in services for the family, without the need for long-term intervention.

Sometimes the situation may require that children are removed from the parent's care, placed into state custody, and placed with temporary caregivers to protect them from further harm. If this step is required, OCS will initiate a Child in Need of Aid (CINA) case in state court. The priority is to work with families to help reunify children with parents once the situation is no longer harmful to the children. If that is not possible, OCS’s priority becomes finding a permanent home for the children. In extreme cases, this may require termination of the parent’s rights and adoption of the children.

In the event of an emergency involving an imminent danger or imminent risk of harm, OCS may coordinate a joint response with law enforcement. Law enforcement investigates potential criminal violations. Some abuse or neglect may involve both OCS through a Child in Need of Aid case, and law enforcement through a criminal investigation for a criminal prosecution.

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