Child Protection

Nicollet County Children’s Services works within state and federal guidelines and mandates to protect the children of Nicollet County from abuse. Neglect, physical abuse, mental injury and sexual abuse are all considered child abuse in Minnesota. Each is defined in state law. Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment. Children’s Services staff provides services to families who are having a difficult time parenting their children. These services include assessment of the current situation and case management, if necessary. Social Services staff will coordinate necessary programs and services relevant to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. 

How do I report abuse or neglect?

Call the county or tribal social service agency, or the police, where the child lives if you believe that a child is being hurt or neglected. In Nicollet County, call 507-387-4556 and ask to be directed to intake.

Some people, whose jobs involve caring for children, such as doctors, teachers, and ministers, are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Other people, such as neighbors or relatives, are encouraged to report if they think a child is being abused or neglected. Your report is confidential and your name cannot be released to the family except by a court order.

 More information can be found on the DHS website.

Child Welfare Services

Many reported incidents do not reach the legal standard of abuse or neglect, but there may be factors that put the children at potential risk. The Parent Support Outreach Program and General Child Welfare can help these children and their families get support to prevent future incidents of child maltreatment.

Parent Support Outreach Program (PSOP): 

Minnesota’s Parent Support Outreach Program is a voluntary, early intervention program that focuses on a family’s strengths and needs, and aims to help children and parents thrive. Short-term help may be available to families with concerns regarding:

  • Basic needs (food, clothing and housing)
  • Family health (medical care, mental and chemical health services)
  • Parenting 
  • Transportation 
  • Child care 
  • Financial needs (budgeting and financial assistance)
  • Being a minor Parent
  • Prenatal Exposure

To be eligible, families must:

  • Have at least one child, age 10 or younger, or be pregnant.
  • Be exposed to two or more child maltreatment risk factors, including but not limited to:
    • Poverty
    • Domestic violence
    • Alcohol and drug problems
    • Mental health concerns
    • History of child protection involvement
    • Homelessness
    • Not currently involved with child protection services

More information, and brochures in multiple languages, can be found on the Parent Support Outreach Program DHS website.

To refer yourself or help someone get referred, you can fill out the form listed below and fax it to intake at 507-934-8552 or call intake with the information at 507-387-4556. 

  • Parent Support Outreach Program (PSOP) Referral Form  DHS-8007

General Child Welfare Case Management 

General Child Welfare Case Management is also voluntary. Families with a child of any age are eligible. Services can help families that deal with things like, but not limited to: 
  • parenting difficulties
  • runaways
  • access to community resources (financial, mental health, housing, etc)
  • parent-child conflict

School Social Workers

Nicollet County Social Services contributes towards the funding of social work positions in Nicollet and St.Peter school districts. These positions support and nurture the children and families in each of the school districts. These school social workers have a close working relationship with the children and family unit / social services which contributes to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in Nicollet County.