Parent Support Outreach
County and tribal social services receive many reports of possible child maltreatment. Some are "screened out" from further action because the reported incident does not reach the legal standard of abuse or neglect. In many cases, however, there are factors that put the children at potential risk. The Parent Support Outreach Program helps these children and their families to prevent future incidents of child maltreatment.
The program provides early intervention, outreach and supportive services to these families who have at least one child under age 10. It is available through all Minnesota counties, and the White Earth and Leech Lake reservations.
The Parent Support Outreach Program brochure (PDF) explains more.
Program is voluntary
One of the key aspects of the program is that families choose to participate. Families are eligible if they:
- Have two or more risks associated with child abuse and neglect
- Are responsible for the care of at least one child age 10 or younger.
Risk factors that indicate a family may benefit from the program include but are not limited to:
- Substance abuse
- Domestic violence
- Behavioral health concerns for parents and children
- Past history of abuse or neglect
Most referrals for the program come from:
- Screened-out child maltreatment reports
- Self-referrals by parent or guardian
- Community referrals.
About 50 percent of families contacted agree to meet with a Parent Support Outreach Program worker and accept services. The worker conducts a comprehensive assessment of a family's needs and strengths, and together with the family makes decisions about what services or community resources are needed. .
Family Group Decision Making is also available to many of these families to help them develop or deepen supportive relationships with extended family members and other informal supports. Often, referrals are made to community supports such as food shelves, free or low-cost clothing programs, free health clinics, and child development screening services.
Services are provided based on available state and local funding.
Help for families varies to meet specific needs
The Parent Support Outreach Program helps families in many ways, including:
- Helps families build connections with relatives, friends and community members
- Supports families in their efforts to provide healthy, nurturing homes free of abuse and neglect
- Uses limited funds in creative ways to best meet families' needs
- Gives workers access to a flexible fund to help families meet their needs, such as utility and rental assistance, car repairs, clothing and grocery vouchers, and school supplies
- Provides funds for therapeutic services such as in-home family counseling or parent education, or helps pay for outpatient counseling or chemical dependency treatment
- Helps families pay for after-school programs for children, gym memberships, child care costs, family recreational opportunities, or other services that enhance child and family well-being.