Lucas County Children Services works with families, service providers and community members to assess risk and coordinate community-based services resulting in safe, stable and permanent families for children.
Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. They help parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.
Suspected child abuse or neglect is often brought to our attention by a neighbor, family member, or friend. Health care professionals, teachers, day care workers, attorneys, peace officers, ministers and others who work professionally with children are required by Ohio law to report suspected abuse or neglect.
When you call 419-213-2273, LCCS intake caseworkers gather as much information as possible about the family’s situation. If we believe a child is at risk of abuse or neglect, we act to ensure the safety of the child and assist the family. We never reveal the identity of the person who contacted us.
The Ohio Administrative Code mandates that children services agencies must try to obtain, at a minimum, key pieces of information from the reporter:
- The name(s) and address(es) of the child and his/her parent, guardian, or custodian
- The child’s age
- The type, extent, frequency, and duration of the abuse, neglect or dependency, if applicable
- The alleged perpetrator’s access to the child, if applicable
- The child’s current condition
- The child’s current location
- Circumstances regarding the abuse, neglect, or dependency, or the circumstances indicating a need for services
- Any evidence of previous injuries, abuse, or neglect
- Any other information that might help us learn the cause of the known or suspected injury, abuse, or neglect, or the known or suspected threat of injury, abuse, or neglect or the case circumstances that make you believe that the family is in need of services
Within 24 hours from receipt of the information, the agency will evaluate whether the information meets the guidelines for beginning an investigation.
Caseworkers assess the abuse or neglect concern by interviewing and observing interactions of the child and family and by obtaining any and all pertinent information related to the family.
Two specialized units investigate sexual abuse and severe physical abuse concerns, collaborating with law enforcement officers, when appropriate. This cooperation reduces the risk that a child will be burdened with multiple interviews about their abuse and ensures that victim interviews will be effective in criminal proceedings.
In accordance with Ohio Administrative Code, an attempt to make face-to-face contact with the alleged child victim and at least one caregiver will be made in order to assess safety and risk of harm within the family through child, caregiver, and alleged perpetrator interviews.
These contacts will be completed within 45 days from the date of the receipt of the report. Lucas County Children Services may extend the timeframe by 15 days when information needed to determine the report disposition cannot be obtained within that period of time, and the reasons are documented in the case record.
Ohio Sobriety Treatment and Reducing Trauma ( Ohio START)
Ohio START brings together efforts to improve both parent and child outcomes in families affected by child maltreatment and parental substance use disorders (SUDs). This program transforms the system of care within and between child welfare agencies and substance use disorder treatment providers, and other supportive systems and agencies.
START uses a family centered, “wraparound” approach to delivering services that help the child, parents, and the entire family. It recognizes that SUD/addiction is a family disease, that recovery involves all family members, and that adult recovery should have a parent-child component. It approaches SUDs with compassion, understanding and hope for recovery.
START families are connected faster to assessment, treatment recommendations, and support providers, as well as a Family Peer Mentor. All of this occurs as children remain in the family home without court involvement.
The overall goal of this program is to stabilize families harmed by parental drug use so that both children and their parents can recover and move forward with abuse-free and addiction-free lives.
The Ohio START program is housed at, and led by, the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO). More information about Ohio START, visit https://ohiostart.org/