Medical Social Worker
- To facilitate reporting
- The person with the most information should contact CPS or Law Enforcement
- To coordinate information collection
- Have ready: names/addresses/dates of birth for all household members; detailed description of the reason for concern
- To facilitate a place for interviews
- To help CPS and Law Enforcement navigate the system
- To facilitate communication between all parties
- To keep detailed records of events
- To consult with UWHC’s legal counsel as appropriate
Child Protective Services
- To complete a family assessment via a series of interviews
- To identify a safe caregiver for the child and other siblings
- To identify needed services
- To gather physical evidence
- To determine if there is enough evidence to charge someone with criminal behavior
- It is not the role of the UWHC social worker to conduct interviews!
- Who is a Mandated Reporter? Physicians, nurses, dentists, other medical and mental health care professionals including physical, occupational, and speech therapists, audiologist, social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, administrators and EMT's are ALLrequired by Wisconsin law to report suspected abuse or neglect including threatened abuse or neglect which they have reason believe will occur to children seen in the course of their professional duties.
It’s OK to say “I don’t know” to questions asked by CPS/Law Enforcement if you don’t know!
Decisions on whether to come in from home when on-call are made on a case-by-case basis.
See Child Abuse and Neglect Program for definitions of abuse and neglect, mandatory reporting guidelines, links to statutes, and other general information
Reports can be made to either CPS or Law Enforcement
See Reporting Abuse and Neglect for a list of county CPS phone numbers for WI
In Dane County, the number is 261-KIDS (261-5437)
In Illinois, call (217) 785-4020 during regular working hours
- After hours or on weekends, call local Illinois law enforcement agency
- See Police Departments for a list of police department phone numbers for Wisconsin
- See Sherriff's Offices for a list of sheriff’s department phone numbers for Wisconsin
- WI statute (Section 146.995) requires health care workers to report to law enforcement officials:
- gunshot wounds
- wounds occurring as the result of a crime
- certain second and third degree burns (regardless of whether these injuries result from abuse or not)
- When reporting suspected abuse/neglect, you must notify CPS and/or police/sheriff department in the county in which the child or the child’s family resides.
- Access to a child’s medical records is defined in Wisconsin Statute 146.82 (2) (a) (11). (Counties investigating child abuse cases may have access to the medical records of the children they are investigating without written authorization. Staff should take measures to verify who they are: e.g. ask for the request on official letterhead or ask for ID if in person). See: Wisconsin Statutes
- Access to a child’s caregiver’s medical records must be discussed with UWHC legal council prior to the release of those records. Legal council can be reached through 2-2122 after hours.
- Disclosures must be documented via Health Link Quick Disclosure
- Children’s Code: Chapter 48: See: Wisconsin Statutes
- Consent: Regardless of who has custody, the parent(s)/guardian retains guardianship (unless parental rights have been terminated). The parent(s)/guardian is the only one who can give consent for medical procedures and must be contacted to give authorization. However, discontinuation of medical support MAY NOT be authorized by the parent/guardian if the parent/guardian is thought to have been the cause of the child’s injury(ies). The court may then appoint a guardian-ad-litem to represent the needs of the child.
- Emergency Custody: Can be taken by the child protective services or law enforcement. University police may take custody, however hospital security may not.
- For a child admitted to the burn unit: the burn staff will immediately contact the police or sheriff’s department so that the law enforcement agency can immediately check the water temperature where the burn occurred and turn down the water heater if necessary.
- A child brought to the emergency room should be evaluated by the pediatric resident.
- All recent sexual abuse (within 48 hours), of both infants and adults, should be referred to Meriter to be evaluated by S.A.N.E. (Sexual Abuse Nursing Evaluation), regardless of the client’s payor source.
- You will receive a letter from county human services, informing us whether a case was opened.
- These letters should NOT be sent to HIM for scanning into EMR.
- These letters do not provide any definitive or useful information one way or another for staff who may interact with this family in the future. In fact, any involvement a family may have with human services is confidential. We have fulfilled our obligation by making the report, and are not necessarily going to be privy to further course of action.
- You may keep these letters in a shadow chart in your office, but there really is no need to hang on to them
County Reporting Lines