DCF’s Screening of 51A Reports

The purpose of the screening process is to gather sufficient information to determine whether the Department’s allegation meets the criteria of suspected abuse or neglect and whether there is immediate danger to the safety of a child.

Upon receiving a report, DCF immediately begins to “screen“ the report.  Screening activities include:

  • gathering information from the reporter
  • reviewing any history the child or family may have with DCF or another state’s child protection agency
  • conducting an identity query (if needed)
  • conducting CORI and SORI checks
  • requesting information from local law enforcement
  • contacting other collaterals who may know the family
  • seeking clinical consultation (especially when multiple reports on separate incidents have been filed on any children in a family) and
  • searching online and social media sources (if needed)
  • DCF will determine if there is an immediate concern for child safety; and if a “reportable condition” exists (i.e., there is information that a child may have been abused and/or neglected by a caregiver, or that a child may have been or may be at risk of sexual exploitation or human trafficking). 
    • Reports that do not meet DCF’s criteria of suspected abuse or neglect are Screened-Out. DCF will send the family a written notification; the mandated reporter will be sent a copy.
    • Reports that meet the criteria are Screened-In.
  • During screening, DCF also determines if an emergency or non-emergency response is needed.
    • Emergency responses begin ASAP and child is visited within 2 hours.
    • Non-emergency responses begin ASAP and child is visited within 3 business days.
  • DCF completes screening of non-emergencies in one business day (of the total 15), but may extend screening one additional day in limited circumstances. 


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