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Child Protection in
Larimer County
Larimer County Children,
Youth, and Family Division
Our goal, as partners with the community, is to provide
access to information, assessment, intervention and
services which support children remaining safe, stable and
intact within their families and communities, while
respecting the culture of each family.
The well-being of children is a community
issue/responsibility of which CYF plays an important role.
Caseworkers, in partnership with the community, have a
responsibility to identify all possible resources that ensure
family safety and functioning.
Child placement is not the solution; it is part of the process
to ensure safety.
Parents are accountable/responsible for raising their
Parents have a right to raise their children.
Children have a right to a relationship with parents and
Kin have an obligation to help parents/children.
CYF has a responsibility to respect individual family
Larimer County Practice
Differential Response Model
Safety of Child
Partnership with Families
Collaboration with
Respect Differences
Balanced Assessment
Solution Focused
Partnering for Safety
Enduring Safety for Children
Good Working Relationships
Work is focused on a Vision for
Future Safety
Partnership with Community
Children’s and families’ voices
are at the center of the work
Trauma Informed Child Protection System
Screen for impact of trauma
Assess to understand trauma
Use family meetings to
connect resources
Personalized interventions
Develop lasting resilience
Child Abuse Definitions
Physical abuse (C.R.S. 19-1-103) states “Any case in which a
child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to
thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue
swelling, or death and either: Such condition or death is not justifiably
explained; the history given concerning such condition is at variance
with the degree or type of such condition or death; or the
circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an
accidental occurrence;” When someone hurts a child badly enough to
cause an injury, break a bone, leave a bruise, a cut, or some other mark.
For example, shaking a baby or using an object to spank a child that
leaves a mark.
Emotional abuse (C.R.S. 19-1-103) states “Any case in which a
child is subjected to emotional abuse.” Emotional abuse means an
identifiable and substantial impairment of the child’s intellectual or
psychological functioning or development, or a substantial risk of
impairment of the child’s intellectual or psychological functioning or
development. Emotional abuse is an adult’s words or actions that lead
a child to be harmful to themselves or others. Emotional abuse can be
terrorizing, isolating, exploiting, and rejecting.
Sexual abuse (C.R.S. 19-1-103) states “Any case in which a child is
subjected to sexual assault or molestation, sexual exploitation, or
prostitution;” Child sexual abuse occurs when a child is used for the
sexual gratification of another. Sexual abuse also includes taking
pornographic pictures or making a child available for prostitution.
Child Neglect Definitions
Educational Neglect:
Involves the failure of a parent or caretaker to enroll a child of
mandatory school age (ages 6 to 17) in school or provide
appropriate home schooling, thus allowing chronic truancy.
Emotional/Psychological Neglect
Involves actions such as engaging in chronic or extreme spousal
abuse in the child’s presence, allowing a child to use drugs or
alcohol, consistently belittling the child, withholding affection,
verbally assaulting the child, and threatening the child with
extreme violence.
Medical Neglect
Involves the failure to provide appropriate and necessary health
care for a child (although financially able to do so), thus placing
the child at risk of being seriously disabled or disfigured or dying.
Recognizing Abuse and
Neglect: Signs and Symptoms
The Child
Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance • Has
not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the
parents’ attention • Has learning problems (or difficulty
concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or
psychological causes • Is always watchful, as though preparing for
something bad to happen • Lacks adult supervision • Is overly
compliant, passive, or withdrawn • Comes to school or other
activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home • Is
reluctant to be around a particular person • Discloses
The Parent
Denies the existence ofor blames the child for—the child’s
problems in school or at home • Asks teachers or other caregivers
to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves • Sees the
child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome • Demands a level
of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve •
Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of
the parent’s emotional needs • Shows little concern for the child
The Parent and Child
Rarely touch or look at each other • Consider their relationship
entirely negative • State that they do not like each other
Signs of Physical Abuse
Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the child:
• Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from
school • Seems frightened of the parents and protests or cries when it is
time to go home • Shrinks at the approach of adults • Reports injury by
a parent or another adult caregiver Abuses animals or pets
Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the parent or
other adult caregiver:
Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s
injury, or provides an explanation that is not consistent with the injury •
Describes the child as “evil” or in some other very negative way • Uses
harsh physical discipline with the child • Has a history of abuse as a child
• Has a history of abusing animals or pets
Signs of Neglect
Consider the possibility of neglect when the child:
• Is frequently absent from school • Begs or steals food or money
• Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses • Is
consistently dirty and has severe body odor • Lacks sufficient clothing
for the weather • Abuses alcohol or other drugs • States that there is no
one at home to provide care Consider the possibility of neglect when
the parent or other adult caregiver: • Appears to be indifferent to the
child • Seems apathetic or depressed • Behaves irrationally or in a
bizarre manner • Is abusing alcohol or other drugs
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
Recognizing the Signs and
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:
Has difficulty walking or sitting • Suddenly refuses to change for gym or
to participate in physical activities • Reports nightmares or bedwetting •
Experiences a sudden change in appetite • Demonstrates bizarre,
sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior • Becomes
pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14 •
Runs away • Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
• Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other
adult caregiver:
Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact
with other children, especially of the opposite sex • Is secretive and
isolated • Is jealous or controlling with family members
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
Recognizing the Signs and
Signs of Emotional Maltreatment
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the
Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding
behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression • Is either inappropriately
adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile
(frequently rocking or head-banging, for example) • Is delayed in
physical or emotional development • Has attempted suicide • Reports a
lack of attachment to the parent Consider the possibility of emotional
maltreatment when the parent or other adult caregiver: • Constantly
blames, belittles, or berates the child • Is unconcerned about the child
and refuses to consider offers of help for the child’s problems • Overtly
rejects the child
Larimer County Children, Youth,
Family Services is committed to
building solutions in child protective
services; integrating a family-based
practice and providing tools that
promote family engagement and
problem solving to help keep kids
Making a Referral
The First Call
Intake Specialist interview the caller (“Reporting Party”)
Average call takes 20-25 minutes
Presenting Problem
General Questions Asked on all Referrals
Family Coping and Community Support Questions
Intervention Questions
Solution Questions
General Questions Asked on All Referrals
What is the nature of the abuse or neglectful environment?
Where is the child now?
Where is the alleged perpetrator now?
When were the children last seen and by whom?
How long has this been occurring? Have things stayed about
the same, become worse or improved?
What school does the child attend and how long are they there?
Is the child reporting how often this occurs?
Are there any weapons in the home or drug use by family
Who else lives in the home?
Questions Specific to Referral Type
If neglect…
What specifically did the reporter see?
Description of environment, and who saw it?
If emotional abuse
What is being said or what did they witness?
When, where and how often does this occur?
If domestic violence…
Where were the children?
Were the police called?
Were any charges filed or either parent incarcerated?
If lack of supervision…
How often and what time of day does it occur?
Do they know where the parent goes at these times?
If physical abuse…
Did the reporter see an injury? What does it look like?
When/where did it occur and by whom?
If drug allegations
How do you know the parent is using drugs?
If drug exposed child
Is mother still at the hospital? Who else is at the
Has mecstat been ordered? Types and levels of drugs
If sexual abuse…
What, when, and how often? Did anyone else witness
the incident?
Mandated Referral FAQs
Q: How do I report my concerns?
A: If it is an emergency, call 911. They can ensure the immediate safety of a child and get medical
attention if needed. If it is not an emergency, call 970-498-6990, 24/7/365 or call 844-CO-4-Kids to
report abuse /neglect of a child who resides outside of Larimer County.
Q: Am I liable if my concerns are not confirmed?
A: If a person makes a report in good faith then that person is immune from civil or criminal
Source: Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 19, children’s code, Sections 19-3-304 and 19-3-309
Q: What can happen if I don’t report my concerns?
A: There are legal consequences for not reporting. You could be charged with a class 3
misdemeanor, receive a fine of $750 and/or imprisonment up to six months, and be liable for what
the law terms “damages approximately caused” if you fail to report a suspicion of child abuse or
Q: Can I remain anonymous?
A: Yes. Child protective services and its employees are required by law not to disclose the name of
the mandatory reporter to the family. However, this confidentiality does not apply to reports
made to law enforcement.
Q: When and how will I be notified of our disposition related to the referral?
A: Not all mandated reporting parties will be notified. Only those who have an ongoing
relationship with the child. If you have an ongoing relationship with the child, you will be notified
within 30 calendar days of receiving the referral. A mandated reporting party notification letter
will be sent to you.
Q: If I made a report to Child Protection Services and I still have concerns for the child and don't
understand the agency decision about the referral I made, who can I talk to?
A: Once you receive a letter of notification regarding the agency decision and you have questions
or concerns, you can contact our office and ask to speak with the supervisor reflected in the
notification letter.
Q: If I made a report to Child Protection Services and the referral was assigned for assessment,
and I have new information, questions regarding an immediate concern and can't reach the
assigned caseworker, what should I do?
A: You can contact our office and ask to speak with the supervisor of the assigned caseworker. If
that supervisor is not available, you can request to speak with a duty supervisor. Our department
has a supervisor accessible to answer questions of the public regarding assigned assessments 24
hours per day.
Report of suspected child abuse or neglect is made to Child Welfare Services (CWS).
Screening decision-maker reviews report.
Referral does not
warrant CWS
intervention. Eligible
mandated reporter
receives a letter.
Report meets criteria and is routed to 1 of 2 paths: Traditional or alternative response.
Assessment begins with up to 30 to 60 days to complete.
Case is closed.
Concerns are identified and services are needed.
Family may receive
CWS and/or is
referred to
community services.
Case is closed
(support plan).
PROTECTIVE NEED identified. Case is opened for
ongoing services (safety plans).
Does report meet
criteria for
Child remains in home.
If removed Relative/Kinship
If removed Foster Care
Permanency planning begins & continues till closure.
Are there any
concerns to be
Is ongoing CW
intervention warranted?
Source: CDHS Colorado Office of Children, Youth &
Families Division of Child Welfare: https://sites.
If you suspect child abuse and/or neglect, you
should make the call!
Call LCDHS: (970) 498-6990
24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year
To report abuse/neglect of a child
who resides outside Larimer
Call 1-844-CO-4-KIDS
Promoting Safety & Strengthening Families
The Hub
2555 Midpoint Drive, Suite F
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525