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Beltrami County Social Services

Child Protection

If you believe that a child(ren) is in immediate danger, call 911.  

To Report suspected abuse or neglect of a child(ren):  

Please be prepared to include the following details, if known:  

  • The child(ren) name, age, address and/or school  
  • The reason for the report  
  • Who the child(ren) lives with  
  • Any additional pertinent information you may have  
  • The alleged offender's name and relationship with the child(ren)
  • The parent's name, address, and telephone numbers 
  • Any known tribal affiliation 

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is when a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child's care hurts a child, causing any physical injury, other than by accident.  This includes any physical injury to a child that cannot reasonably be explained by the person responsible for the child's care, based on a history of injuries. 

The following are conditions of physical abuse that should be reported:

  • Child has suffered an injury that appears to be non-accidental in nature
  • Child has suffered an injury and the parent or guardian seems unconcerned, denies anything is wrong, or gives unlikely or contradictory explanations
  • There is a strong possibility that the child is in immediate danger of physical injury based on the likelihood that excessive force was used (i.e. choking, punching, shaking, biting, tying, caging)

Child Neglect

Harm to a child that results from what a parent or caretaker do not do is called child neglect.  It differs from child abuse though both abuse and neglect may cause harm.  For a Minnesota State definition of child neglect, see the Minnesota Child Maltreatment Screening Guidelines.

Child neglect is continued failure by parents or caretakers to provide a child with needed care and protection.

Examples of what may constitute a report of child neglect are:

  • Inadequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care
  • Abandonment
  • Exposure to threatening or endangering conditions
  • Educational neglect
  • Prenatal exposure to substance abuse. For more on this topic, see the Minnesota Child Maltreatment Screening Guidelines.
  • Inadequate supervision.
  • Child has suffered a physical injury as a result of hazardous conditions uncorrected by parent or guardian
  • Child suffers injury or risk of injury due to domestic violence
  • Exposure to, or involvement in, criminal activities

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse within the child protection system is based on Minnesota Statutes 626.556 and is defined as criminal sexual conduct with a child by a person responsible for the child’s care, or by a person who has a significant relationship to the child. A description of sexual abuse can be found in the Minnesota Child Maltreatment Screening Guidelines

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse or maltreatment is consistently or deliberately inflicting mental harm on a child by a person responsible for the child’s care.  The treatment has an observable, sustained, adverse effect on the child’s physical, mental or emotional development. 

Mandated reporters must report known or suspected abuse or neglect verbally immediately, or within 24 hours.  The verbal report must be followed up with a written report within 72 hours.  If you are not a mandated reporter, you are still encouraged to report known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child to Child Protection or to Law Enforcement.   

You cannot be held liable for any report of suspect child abuse or neglect that you make in good faith.  Under Minnesota law, you are immune from liability if the report was made in good faith. If a report to authorities is made in good faith, Minnesota Statute 626.556, Subdivision 4, protects you with immunity from liability. 

Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters 

Beltrami County Health and Human Services is responsible for screening, assessing, and investigating reports of child maltreatment by following the Minnesota Child Maltreatment Intake, Screening, and Response Path Guidelines. 

Beltrami County is dedicated to achieving positive outcomes for children and families by delivering services which will strengthen and assist families with the challenges they are facing in the least restrictive environment that provides safety.  We strive to work with families in their homes and community when possible.  When that is not possible and, as a last resort, out of home placement is necessary, our goal is to reunify the family as soon as safely possible, or to achieve a permanent, safe living arrangement for the child if renunciation is not possible.  Beltrami County Child Protection works with tribal representatives and advocates, the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office, The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bemidji Police Department when necessary or appropriate.   

If a report is screened in there are two investigative responses. 

Investigative:  Investigations are designed to respond to reports of substantial child endangerment and neglect of children.  Reports of child maltreatment that allege substantial child endangerment must receive an investigation.  “Investigation” means fact gathering related to the current safety of the child and the risk of subsequent maltreatment that determines whether child maltreatment occurred and whether child protective services are needed. Minn.Stat. 626.556 subd. 2(e). 

Family Assessment:  Reports not involving substantial child maltreatment may be assigned as a family assessment.  A “family Assessment” means a comprehensive assessment of child safety, risk of subsequent child maltreatment and the family’s strengths and needs as applied to a child maltreatment report that does not allege substantial child endangerment.  Family assessment does not include a determination as to whether child maltreatment occurred but does determine the need to address the safety of family members and the risk of subsequent maltreatment. Minn.Stat. 626.556, subd. 2(d)

Contact Us

Children's Intake
616 America Ave NW
Bemidji, MN 56601

Phone: 218-333-8245

Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Mon - Fri

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