Ohio’s Child Welfare Agencies operate using a Differential Response System when responding to reports of Abuse or Neglect. This provides child welfare agencies two options for responding to accepted reports of child abuse and neglect: a Traditional Response or an Alternative Response. Child safety is paramount in both responses. A traditional child protection response is needed in more severe cases of abuse where an abuse finding is helpful to ensure child safety. However, for many other families, an alternative approach may be more appropriate. This Alternative Response approach allows for caseworkers to partner with families and ensure they are connected with services and supports needed to keep their children safe and help stabilize the family unit.
Allegations of Abuse and Neglect in Warren County are assigned based on the nature of the report and pathway assignment criteria:
Traditional Response (TR)
- Required for reports of sexual abuse or abuse resulting in serious injury or serious and immediate risk
- Process results in a determination/finding regarding the allegation
- May involve intervention of the court
Alternative Response (AR)
- Applied when reports do not allege serious or imminent harm
- No formal finding/substantiation of the allegation
- Facilitates safety-focused partnership with families
- Emphasis on "front-loading" needed services by providing services earlier and without requirement of a finding
Pathway assignment may change from Alternative Response to Traditional Response if needed in order to assure safety.