Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services

              DCFS Memo Series 2004 - 04
              February 3, 2004

                  DEATH, SERIOUS INJURY, OR
                  EGREGIOUS INCIDENTS

           (Supersedes DCFS Memo Series 99-08)



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
Licensing Chiefs/Section Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators


Kitty Kocol


This Department, via DCFS, is charged with supervising county agencies in areas related to child welfare. When serious or egregious incidents of child maltreatment occur, DCFS has a responsibility to be aware of the situation in order to fulfill our statutory role (ref. ss. 46.03(7) and (25), 46.206(1)(a) to (c), and 48.48(1), Stats., and Section 2.01 of the State/County Contract). As such, county agencies and the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare must notify DCFS when a child in the care of the county agency, previously in the care of the agency, or not currently or previously in the care of the county agency is involved in a child abuse or neglect incident where that child dies or is seriously injured or the nature of the abuse or neglect is egregious.

This notification requirement applies in situations where a child dies, is seriously injured, or is involved in an egregious case of abuse or neglect. For purposes of this numbered memo, the following definitions apply:

  • "Egregious" abuse or neglect means cases of abuse or neglect that are flagrant and likely to draw the attention of the media, legislators, or the general public. This may include alleged cases of abuse or neglect or maltreatment involving significant violence, torture, multiple child victims, the use of inappropriate or cruel restraint (e.g., keeping children locked in cages), the exposure of children to dangerous situations [e.g., making children stay outside in the winter as punishment (to an extreme degree, without coats, locking doors, etc.)], and similar types of circumstances. We ask you to err on the side of notification of the Division if there is any doubt.

  • "Serious injury" means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

The purpose of this notification is to immediately alert DCFS, as the supervising entity for child welfare services, to situations to which our staff may have to respond. The attached form is to be used for this notification. The form must be submitted within 24 hours after the death, serious injury, or egregious incident or within 24 hours after the county department becomes aware of the situation. Upon review of the form, the Division may contact the person who submitted the form to obtain additional information.

Completed forms should be faxed to the Director of the Bureau of Programs and Policies at
(608) 264-6750. The form can be found on the Department’s web site at the following location:

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated in assisting the Department in achieving the above purposes.


Area Administrator


Mary Dibble
Child Protective Services Specialist
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 267-2073
FAX: (608) 264-6750


CFS-2091 - Child's Death, Serious Injury, or Egregious Incident Notification 
(pdf-49 kb)

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