DCFS INFO MEMO 2002 - 11

    July 17, 2002

STATE OF Wisconsin
Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services



Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Departments of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities 
    Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
Section Chiefs/Licensing Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators


Susan N. Dreyfus


Protective Plan


On January 26, 2000, the revised Child Protective Service Investigation Standards: Maltreatment by Parents was issued. Included in the changes were standards regarding assessing and responding to safety. These new standards are consistent with those presented in the training on child safety provided to county child welfare staff throughout the state by the Wisconsin Training Partnerships. The revised Maltreatment by Parent Standard distinguishes between assessing and planning for safety based upon an assessment of present danger and impending danger threats. In response, safety planning at these two distinct stages of assessment will differ.

A Protective Plan is utilized when an assessment of present danger threats indicates that a child is not safe. Attached is list of the present danger threats to safety. These are the threats that workers need to consider and assess at the point of intake and during the first face-to-face contact with each family member. Protective plans are implemented quickly in order to control that danger while the initial assessment/investigation of the family and a thorough assessment of impending danger threats is completed. It is only after completion of all required information gathering and a comprehensive, complete analysis of family conditions that a judgment can be made as to whether a child is likely to be safe over the next 30 days or so. A thorough assessment of impending danger threats is needed so that a full safety plan can be developed to control known threats to child safety.

Based upon the requirements in the Child Protective Service Investigation Standards, information presented to staff at training on safety through the Wisconsin Training Partnerships and recommendations from county agencies already utilizing a consistent format for documenting a protective plan, a format has been developed for use by county agencies. T his format has been incorporated into Wisconsin's Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (WiSACWIS). Since protective plans are generally developed while in the field with families, the format has also been developed into a three-ply form for county agency use. The plan can then be developed with the family and other caregivers and shared with all involved parties immediately, helping to assure understanding of and compliance with the conditions of the plan, thus assisting in providing for the safety of the child.

Attached is the Protective Plan form. Use of this form is voluntary; however, utilizing this format will assist in implementing the requirement per the Child Protective Service Investigation Standards of assessing present danger threats to safety. There is no charge for the form. If you are interested in utilizing this format and would like to order additional copies for your agency, please complete a DMT-25 FORMS/PUBLICATIONS REQUISITION. Make sure to indicate the form/publication number CFS-2179 on the order form. The form should be submitted to Forms Manager, DHFS/DCFS, P.O. Box 8916, Madison, WI, 53708-8916.

I hope you find this format helpful in the work that you do with children and families.



Area Administrator


Amy Smith
Child Protective Services Specialist
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 267-7732
E-mail: smithae@dhfs.state.wi.us

Present Danger Threats to Safety Checklist (pdf 44 kb)


CPS Supervisors
Training Partnership Directors/Managers


The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.