Hawaii Threatened Harm Guidelines for Assessment

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Department of Human Services
THREATENED HARM GUIDELINES FOR ASSESSMENT
1. Confirming Threat of Abuse and/or Neglect
The confirmation of Threat of Abuse and/or Neglect will be based upon the determination that a safety factor
exists that describes risk of substantial harm as identified during the assessment. In other words, the
assessment worker identifies the presence of one or more of the standardized safety factors that describes risk
of substantial harm in the Child Safety Assessment.
If no actual harm is found by the assessment worker, but safety factors that describe risk of substantial harm
are determined to be present, then Threat of Abuse and/or Neglect is identified for the children to whom the
safety factors apply. Threat of Abuse and/or Neglect may be present for all the children in the family or it may
not apply to every child in the family. All children in the family are not automatically confirmed as Threat of
Abuse and/or Neglect because one child is a confirmed victim of Abuse and/or Neglect or Threat of Abuse
and/or Neglect. The additional identification and confirmation of Threat of Abuse and/or Threat of Neglect must
be based only on specific information found in the assessment that supports the presence of a safety factor.
2. Confirming Actual Abuse and/or Neglect
As a general rule, if actual Abuse and/or Neglect (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect) is
found in the assessment, then that Abuse and/or Neglect shall be confirmed. Threatened harm should not be
substituted for actual harm. For example: The assessment worker may find that the child was hit and had
bruises prior to the time the assessment worker saw the child. A credible source corroborates the injuries and
child’s statement. Even though the assessment worker does not see the injuries, the disposition should be
actual physical abuse and not threat of abuse because actual harm occurred.
3. Confirming Actual Abuse and/or Neglect and Threat of Abuse and/or Threat of Neglect
Threat of Abuse and/or Neglect may also be confirmed when safety factors, in addition to actual Abuse and/or
Neglect, are identified during the assessment. There could be actual harm for one type of abuse and
threatened harm for something else or there could be actual harm and threatened harm for the same type of
maltreatment. The additional confirmation of Threat of Abuse and/or Threat of Neglect must be based on
specific information found in the assessment that supports the presence of a safety factor.
Regardless of what is identified at the point of Intake in terms of alleged Abuse and/or Neglect or Threat of
Abuse and/or Neglect and regardless of which children are identified as victims at the point of Intake, current
procedures require that all children are assessed for any type of maltreatment during the assessment process.
If additional types of maltreatment are found through the assessment, they are added by the assessment
worker and confirmed.
4. Confirming Actual Abuse and/or Neglect and Threat of Abuse and/or Threat of Neglect for one
Parent/Caregiver and Not Another
There are cases where one parent is confirmed as the perpetrator and the other identified as protective. The
basis for confirmation is that the parent/caregiver identified is exhibiting behaviors that can be identified as a
safety factor and without the actions of the protective parent/caregiver the child would be subject to risk of
substantial harm.
5. Documentation of Safety Factors and Confirmation
The worker is to document on the Child Safety Assessment form all identified safety factors and include a short
narrative of how the factor is present for any child in the family by addressing the following:
Specifically describe each safety factor and how it is active in the family including when, how often (pattern),
under what circumstance, other influences involved, and inability of the family to control the threat to child
safety. Include in the description how the behavior is specific and observable, out of control, immediate or
liable to happen soon, can result in severe consequences, and how the child is vulnerable to the
threats.
6. Supervisor and Section Review
Supervisors will continue to review and approve all dispositions. If there are any disagreements with the above
guidelines, the supervisor will consult with the Section Administrator regarding case disposition and direction.
DHS-CPS 3-11
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