The Screening Unit is responsible for receiving, screening, and evaluating all requests for services, a majority of which are received directly from ChildLine, the statewide hotline for reporting child abuse. Requests for services are also received by phone, email, letter, fax, or office visit, including those received by the Second Shift Unit and Afterhours. Screeners elicit as much information as possible from the referral sources and collateral contacts (schools, police, etc.). Referrals that need investigation are funneled to the Intake Unit. Some referrals go immediately to General Protective Services. Screeners also refer children and/or families to other community resources or other agencies for service when appropriate.
The Intake Department follows up on appropriate referrals from Screening. An Intake Worker's job is to make an initial assessment of all the information provided about a family and, with their Supervisor, to determine the appropriate approach. This typically involves a home visit and meeting with all members of the family. Depending on the nature of the referral, the worker may visit schools, child care facilities, police departments, etc.
After a thorough assessment as to safety and risk, the next steps are determined. Sometimes it is necessary for Intake to place children in foster care on an emergency basis.
Specific allegations of child abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional) are investigated by an Agency social worker. All investigations are handled with the guidelines of Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law in a timely and professional manner regarding the child's safety. There is a 24-hour requirement to see the alleged victim for registered referrals involving child abuse.
Upon completing the investigation, if further social services are warranted, the Agency will assist the family in locating the appropriate resources and continuing to provide ongoing general protective services.
The Agency provides services from a strengths-based family engagement model. We believe that all families have unique strengths on which to build. We encourage families to utilize other family members for support. Some techniques we use include family finding, family team meetings, and family group decision making (FGDM).