Central Register: The Central Register is a list of individuals identified as having been responsible for child abuse or neglect following an investigation either by law enforcement, the Department, or both.

Central Registry: Data pertaining to child abuse or neglect.

Child Maltreatment: Maltreatment occurs when a child age birth through age 17 is physically, emotionally, or sexually harmed.


  • Physical: Information indicates the existence of an injury that is unexplained; not consistent with the explanation given; or is non-accidental. The information may also only indicate a substantial risk of bodily injury.
  • Emotional: Information indicates psychopathological or disturbed behavior in a child which is documented by a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed mental health practitioner to be the result of continual scapegoating, rejection or exposure to violence by the child's parent/caretaker.
  • Sexual: Information indicates any sexually oriented act, practice, contact, or interaction in which the child is or has been used for the sexual stimulation of a parent, the child, or other person.


  • Emotional neglect: Information which indicates that the child is suffering or has suffered severe negative effects due to a parent's failure to provide the opportunities for normal experience which produce feelings of being loved, wanted, secure and worthy. Lack of such opportunities may impair the child's ability to form healthy relationships with others.
  • Physical neglect: The failure of the parent to provide for the basic needs, or provide a safe and sanitary living environment for the child.
  • Medical Neglect of Handicapped Infant: The withholding of medically indicated treatment (appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medication) from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions. Exceptions include those situations in which the infant is chronically and irreversibly comatose; the provision of this treatment would merely prolong dying or not be effective in ameliorating or correcting all of the infant's life-threatening conditions, and the provision of the treatment itself under these conditions would be inhumane.
  • Child Welfare: A broad spectrum of services that starts with assessment of safety and risk to the child and provides needed intervention when indicated. It includes services that help to preserve families and enhance family strengths and functioning by actively engaging families in decision making, assessing needs, and linking with resources. It also includes services that children require when out-of-the-home foster care, and different levels of group and therapeutic living arrangements. Finally, when children aren't able to return safely home, children are assisted to permanent living arrangements through services such as adoption, guardianship or other long-term arrangements.

Family Assessment: An in-depth assessment of family issues where their contributing factors are identified. This assessment lays the foundation for a family-centered, child-focused approach to case planning and service delivery.

Findings: There are five categories of findings: Court substantiated, Petition to be filed, Inconclusive, Unable to locate, and Unfounded.

  • Court Substantiated: A District Court, County Court, or Separate Juvenile Court has entered a judgment of guilty on a criminal complaint, indictment, or information, or an adjudication of jurisdiction on a juvenile petition under Section 43-247 (3)(a), and the judgment or adjudication relates or pertains to the same matter as the report of abuse or neglect.
  • Petition to be Filed: A criminal complaint, indictment, or information or a juvenile petition under Section 43-247(3)(a), that has been filed in District Court, County Court, or Separate Juvenile Court, and that the allegations of the complaint, indictment, information, or juvenile petition relate or pertain to the same subject matter as the report of abuse or neglect.
  • Inconclusive: The evidence indicates it is more likely than not (preponderance of evidence standard) that the child abuse or neglect occurred, and a court adjudication did not occur.
  • Unable to Locate: Subjects of the maltreatment report have not been located after a good-faith effort on the part of the Department.
  • Unfounded: All reports not classified as "court substantiated," "petition to be filed," "inconclusive" or "unable to locate" will be classified as "Unfounded."

Intake: The process of documenting all Child Welfare related contacts with HHS. Intake includes the activities associated with the receipt of a referral, the assessment of screening, the decision to accept, and the referral of individuals or families to services.

Initial Assessment: The gathering and analyzing of information in response to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, to determine which families need further intervention. During this phase the Protection and Safety Worker is primarily concerned with child safety. The worker determines if child maltreatment did occur, determines the level of risk, and arranges services as necessary to protect the child.
Perpetrator: The person who was found to have committed an offense, as in abuse or neglect of a child.
State Ward: When a court of competent jurisdiction gives custody of a child under the age of 18 to the state, that child becomes a state ward. This is done to provide for safety and/or to facilitate the provision of services. The State acts as the child's parent.