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

     DCFS Memo Series 2005 - 16
      December 21, 2005

            ABUSE OR NEGLECT
(Supersedes DCFS Memo Series 2004-04)


To: Area Administrators/Human Service Area Coordinators
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
From: Burnie Bridge

 The Department, via the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), is charged with supervising county agencies in areas related to child welfare. When deaths or serious injuries resulting from abuse or neglect or egregious incidents of child maltreatment occur, DCFS must be notified of the situation. As such, county agencies and the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare must notify the Bureau of Programs and Policies in DCFS when a child dies, suffers from a serious injury, or is involved in an egregious incident related to maltreatment.

For purposes of this numbered memo, the following definitions apply:

  • "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.

  • "Egregious incident" means cases of abuse or neglect that are flagrant. This may include alleged cases of 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.

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 from a practice perspective and to which Department management may have to respond to inquiries from legislators, the public, and representatives of the media.

The attached form, as revised, is to be used for this notification 
(see Appendix A). 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. Following receipt of the form, the Division will review information available on eWiSACWIS and 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: 

Attached is the protocol which the Division of Children and Family Services will use to assess the need for a review and the objectives and process of the review.

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

CENTRAL OFFICE CONTACT: Connie Klick, Section Manager
Child Welfare & Family Violence Programs
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 266-1489
FAX: (608) 264-6750


Protocol Related to Reviews of Child Death, Serious Injuries, and Egregious Incidents  (PDF, 36 kb)
The Roles of the Counties and State in WI's Protective Services System  
PDF 9, kb)
Child's Death, Serious Injury or Egregious Incident Notification form (PDF, 56 kb)  (WORD, 83 kb)


c:  County CPS Supervisors
County Foster Care Coordinators
Tribal Child Welfare Contact Persons

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