Child Protective Services (CPS) Worker Safety Intervention Information

Safety intervention is teamwork between Child Protective Services (CPS) and families. It is based on

  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Equity
  • Self-determination

Collaboration is critical for effective safety assessment, planning, and management.

Safety intervention:

  • Includes all decisions and actions required in CPS to protect an unsafe child
  • Respects the constitutional rights of each family member
  • Uses the least intrusive intervention to keep children safe

Child safety is managed across the life of a case. CPS has the following fundamental safety intervention responsibilities:

Safety Role of CPS Caseworker in Access

  • Gather information related to Present and Impending Danger Threats to child safety.
  • Make screening, urgency, and response time decisions based on reported threats to child safety.

Safety Role of CPS Caseworker in Initial Assessment

  • Collect thorough safety information on individual and family functioning.
  • Analyze information to determine if a child unsafe using Wisconsin’s Present and Impending Danger Threats.
  • Engage in protective and safety planning strategies.
  • Assure child safety interventions are least intrusive to the family as possible.
  • Oversee and manage child safety.
  • Collaborate with tribes when children have Indian ancestry. Indian Child Welfare Contacts for Federally Recognized Tribes in Wisconsin provides a list of tribal contacts.

Protective and Safety Planning with Indian Children

Active efforts, outlined in s. 48.028(4)(g), are required when protective and safety planning with an Indian child and family.

Wisconsin’s Safety Intervention Standards state, “these efforts include ongoing, vigorous and concerted interventions which are intended to promote communication, collaboration, and coordination with the Indian child’s tribe” to develop, implement and modify Protective Plans and Safety Plans involving Indian children.

Involve tribal representatives when Protective or Safety Planning with an Indian child.

Representatives have substantial knowledge of social and cultural standards and child-rearing practices in their community.

Tribal representatives can help evaluate the circumstances of the Indian child's family. They can help develop a case plan using tribal and Indian community resources.

This includes traditional and customary support, actions, and services.

  • If Temporary Physical Custody, Delegation of Powers, or a Voluntary Placement Agreement are needed to ensure child safety, follow placement preferences as outlined in s. 48.028 (7) and Active Efforts as outlined in s. 48.028(4)(g) are required.
  • Consider these statutory requirements when using separation to control for child safety in protective and safety planning process. This helps avoid unnecessary moves of Indian children at the point any formal placement action and/or court involvement.

Indian Child Welfare Contacts for Federally Recognized Tribes in Wisconsin provides a list of tribal contacts.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA).

Safety Role of CPS Caseworker in Ongoing Services

  • Evaluate existing Safety Plan developed during Initial Assessment.
  • Manage child safety through continuous assessment, oversight, and adjustment of safety plans. Safety plans should assure child safety in the least intrusive way possible for the family.
  • Engage families in a case planning process to identify services addressing threats to child safety by enhancing parent/caregiver protective capacities.
  • Measure progress related to enhancing parent/caregiver protective capacities and eliminating safety related issues.
  • Ensure WICWA Active Efforts are followed.

Safety Intervention Resources

Standards and Policies


Child Protective Services (CPS) Standards specify the requirements necessary to perform CPS practice in the state of Wisconsin.

Policy Memos

The Policy Memos include the numbered and information memos currently in effect for child welfare practice in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act provides information on the required responsibilities for Indian child welfare practices in Wisconsin.

Additional Information

Safety Plan Categories and Definitions are reviewed and described in this document.

Wisconsin Child Abuse Network (WICAN) provides helpful resources for medical providers and those wanting more information about medical signs of child abuse and neglect.

Safety Assessment and Planning Revisions play a critical role towards achieving DCF’s Putting Families First effort to keep families and children together by serving them in-home with resources and services.