Family & Children Services

If you believe a child is in imminent danger, has injuries that need medical attention, or is not safe remaining at home, call 911.​  Child Protection intake at 218-327-2941 or email

AFTER HOURS AND WEEKENDS:  Please call First Call for Help at 218-326-8565 if you need to reach someone.

 Online Child Protection Mandated Report Form

Child Protection

When a child maltreatment report warrants an investigation or assessment, Itasca County Child Protection Unit is responsible to respond to reports of child maltreatment that meet certain criteria (MN Statute 626.556.) Itasca County Child Protection activities include:
  • Coordination with law enforcement and the county attorney's office or juvenile court
  • Observations of children
  • Interviews with children and parents or other caretakers of children
  • Collateral interviews
  • Safety and Risk assessment
  • Record checks
  • Development of a case plan for the family

Family Assessment

Family Assessment is based on the belief that parents love their children and want them to be safe. Parents need help to make that happen. Family Assessment can provide that help. It is a response that addresses concerns about child abuse and neglect by:
  • Ensuring Children Are Safe
  • Setting aside the issue of fault and working in partnership with parents
  • Identifying families' needs
  • Providing services and resources matched to families' needs
  • Building on parents' and communities' strengths and resources

Child Protection Investigation

Child Protection Investigation is also based on the belief that parents love their children and want them to be safe. Minnesota laws require that the use of Child Protection Investigations be followed in certain situations including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and egregious harm situations. Child Protection Investigations may involve the juvenile court system.

Anyone may report suspected child maltreatment, and certain professionals are mandated to report suspected child maltreatment.

Parent Support Outreach Program



Minnesota’s Parent Support Outreach Program is a voluntary, early intervention program that focuses on a family’s strengths and needs, and aims to help children and parents thrive. The program is available through all Minnesota counties, and the White Earth and Leech Lake reservations. Families can refer themselves, or be referred by community or social service agencies. 

Parent Support Outreach Program workers conduct comprehensive assessments of families’ needs and strengths and, together, make decisions about what services or community resources are the best choices for success. Short-term help may be available to families with concerns regarding:

  • Basic needs (food, clothing and housing)
  • Family health (medical care, mental and chemical health services) 
  • Parenting 
  • Transportation 
  • Child care 
  • Financial needs (budgeting and financial assistance)
The overarching goals of the Parent Support Outreach Program are to enhance the well-being of children and families, ensure and maintain safety for children, and support families so they can meet the needs of their children by themselves and through support systems. Often, referrals are made to community supports such as food shelves, free or low-cost clothing programs, free health clinics, mental health services, parenting classes and support, and child development screening services.


Participation in the Parent Support Outreach Program is voluntary. To be eligible, families must:

  • Have at least one child, age 10 or younger, or be pregnant.
  • Be exposed to two or more child maltreatment risk factors, including but not limited to:
    • Poverty
    • Domestic violence
    •  Alcohol and drug problems
    • Mental health concerns
    • History of child protection involvement
    • Homelessness.
  • Not currently be involved with child protection services.

Abuse Definitions

Minnesota Statute 626.556 defines physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and child endangerment.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any act(s) which results in non-accidental injuries to a child, including patterns of unexplained injuries and injuries that appear to have been caused in a manner inconsistent with the explanation. Physical abuse includes unreasonably restraining a child with tying, caging, or chaining, and excessive or unreasonably forceful discipline that leaves injuries or marks on a child. Physical abuse is also defined as assaultive behavior not usually associated with discipline such as shaking, kicking, cutting, and burning a child.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any act(s) of sexual assault or sexual exploitation of a child including intentional touching of the child’s intimate parts; causing the child to touch the abuser’s intimate parts, and sexual intercourse.


Neglect is the failure of a parent to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, medical, and educational well-being. Minnesota law states that a parent or caretaker who willfully deprives a child of necessary food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision appropriate to the child's age, when the parent is reasonably able to make the necessary provisions and the deprivation harms or is likely to substantially harm the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, is guilty of neglect of a child. A parent who knowingly fails to protect a child from continuing physical or sexual abuse is also guilty of neglect.

Child Endangerment

Child Endangerment is when a parent or caretaker intentionally or recklessly causes or permits a child to be placed in a situation likely to substantially harm the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, or cause the child's death. This also includes allowing a child to be present where illegal drugs are being made, kept, sold, or used.​

Itasca County Supervision Guidelines

Review the Itasca County Supervision Guidelines (PDF).

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome is a type of traumatic brain injury that is inflicted when someone intentionally and violently shakes a baby.  Shaking makes the baby's fragile brain bounce back and forth inside the skull, causing bruising, swelling, and bleeding; this can lead to permanent, severe brain damage or death.

Access additional information regarding shaken baby syndrome (PDF).

Additional Information