Crisis Response and Intervention

Fairfield County Protective Services utilizes Ohio’s Differential Response System which provides two options for responding to accepted reports of child abuse and neglect – the Traditional Response and an Alternative Response.  In some instances, a traditional child protection response is needed in order to determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred and to ensure child safety and well-being.  However, for many other families, an alternative approach may be more appropriate.  The Alternative Response pathway provides a second response option in which the agency partners with your family to ensure you are connected with the services and supports you need to keep your children safe.

Differential Response allows the agency the freedom to use an alternative approach when assessing some reports of child abuse and neglect.  Instead of automatically beginning a traditional investigation, the agency can choose to assess the needs of the child or family—in a non-threatening, non-adversarial manner offering services to meet those needs.  With this method, the caseworker focuses less on the circumstances of the incident and more on the family’s overall needs.  An alternative response is neither better than nor a replacement for a traditional response.  It merely acknowledges that families have different circumstances that vary in severity and require different responses.  In many cases, a traditional response is the only way to protect children from harm.  In other cases, an alternative approach can resolve issues faster, more easily and with less disruption to children’s lives.

Alternative Response & Traditional Response: Two Pathways to Child Safety

Reports of child abuse or neglect are assigned to one of two pathways, based on the nature of the report and pathway assignment criteria:

        Alternative Response (AR)

  • Applied when reports DO NOT allege serious or imminent harm    
  • No formal finding/substantiation of the allegation                    
  • Facilitates safety-focused partnership with families    
  • Safety, Risk and Comprehensive Family Assessment completed    
  • Emphasis on "front-loading" needed services by providing services earlier with your family


    Traditional Response (TR)

  • Required for reports of sexual abuse or abuse resulting in serious injury or serious and immediate risk    
  • Process results in a determination/finding regarding the allegation    
  • May involve intervention of the court    
  • Facilitates safety-focused partnership with families    
  • Emphasis on "front-loading" needed services by providing services earlier and in partnership with your family
  • Safety, Risk and Comprehensive Family Assessment completed    
  • Case Plan developed following completion of the Family Assessment for families with ongoing services needs