Job & Family Services Office of Families and Children

  Child Protective Services      

Ohio's public children’s services agencies (PCSAs) assess and investigate reports of child abuse, neglect, or dependency as required by state law.  If necessary, the PCSA will work with the family to develop a family case plan identifying services to reduce risk to the children and prevent the abuse or neglect from occurring again. In instances where it is found that children are not safe in their home, the PCSA will work with the family to identify a voluntary safety plan for the children.  If the PCSA and the family are not able to work out a voluntary plan, the PCSA will involve the local court system for intervention to ensure the children’s safety. Intervention could include placing the children with a licensed provider if a kinship placement is not possible. 

To make a report, contact the PCSA in the county where the children and their parent, guardian or custodian reside or call 1-855-OH-CHILD (1-855-642-4453).  


 Ohio’s Differential Response Child Protection System  

Ohio has a Differential Response child protection system. This means children services agencies have two options for responding to accepted reports of child abuse and neglect:  The Traditional Response pathway and the Alternative Response pathway. Both pathways allow children services staff to address the unique safety concerns, risks, and situations of each family, in a way that is collaborative and respectful. In both cases, the primary goal is child safety.

Two Pathways to Help Ensure Child Safety  

Traditional Response  

  • Always required for reports of sexual abuse, abuse resulting in serious injury, and whenever children are determined to be in serious and immediate risk of harm.
  • May involve court intervention.
  • Will result in a determination/finding about the allegation. 

Alternative Response

  • Used when reports of abuse or neglect do not allege serious or imminent harm.
  • Does not result in a determination/finding about the allegation.  

Both pathways require caseworkers to complete a Safety Assessment and a Comprehensive Family Assessment, which includes an assessment of risk, to gather information about the family’s strengths and needs. Both pathways are safety-focused partnerships with families.  A case may be assigned to an Alternative Response pathway but later change to a Traditional Response pathway if needed to ensure child safety or requested by the family.


Differential Response Practice Profiles - Form JFS 08301