Risk of Harm

What is Risk of Harm?

Risk of Harm (ROH) is a component of the Child Protective Services (CPS) program administered by local departments of social services that provides a comprehensive assessment of the risk of harm to a child, including the risk of child abuse or neglect; and family strengths and needs with referrals for services that will assist in assuring safety, reduce risks, and preserve families.

“Risks of Harm” cases are not considered child abuse or neglect investigations and do not include an investigation or a formal determination as to whether child abuse or neglect occurred.

Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) screen reports of harm or a risk of harm and any family history before making a decision to accept a case as a Risk of Harm case. There are specific categories of reports that are assigned for a Risk of Harm assessment, including reports of:

  • Substance Exposed Newborn(SEN);
  • Caregiver impairment that creates a substantial risk of harm;
  • Registered Child Sex Offenders having access to unrelated children where there is a substantial risk of sex abuse;
  • Reports of domestic violence that poses a substantial risk of harm to children in the household;
  • Previous Report to CPS and currently has a child age 5 or under living in the home;
  • Previous Death or Serious Injury of a Child Due to Child Abuse or Neglect;
  • Suspicion of Sex Trafficking;
  • Adult Survivor of Maltreatment; and
  • Birth Match

Reports accepted as Risk of Harm cases are assigned to either a CPS or Family Preservation Services worker. LDSS will work collaboratively with the family and appropriate community resources to assess the families’ strengths, needs, and provide services without the threat of a formal finding.

If you have questions about Risk of Harm cases, please contact your LDSS