The purpose of The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) screening process is not necessarily to determine whether child abuse or neglect has occurred. The screening process has two important functions:
- Determine whether the allegations meet the criteria of the DCF regulations for suspected abuse or neglect.
- Determine if the child’s safety is in emergency (immediate) or non-emergency danger.
- An emergency is when the department has reasonable cause to believe a child’s health or safety is in immediate danger from abuse or neglect.
- A non-emergency is when the department does not have reasonable cause to believe that a child’s health or safety is in immediate danger from abuse or neglect.
The report alleging child abuse and/or neglect is then “screened-in” or “screened out”.
- When DCF determines that the allegations in the report are not substantiated, then the report is screened out.
- When DCF determines that the allegations are substantiated, the child abuse report is screened in, and it is assigned for a Child Protective Investigation.