The Family Assessment Response is an important part of Minnesota’s child protection program. It is the most common state-level reaction to reports of child abuse.
You would encounter one of these responses if someone reported neglect in your family. A FAR contrasts with the more serious procedure: Family Investigation. This article goes over some details of the FAR process.
What does the Family Assessment Response involve?
As per the Minnesota Department of Human Services, FAR is a collaborative, non-accusatory child safety review process. However, it could result in more problems than it solves if you do not handle it correctly. For example, it could result in a decision that child protective services are necessary. While this might not necessarily result in criminal charges, it could harm your future prospects in some cases — in terms of some divorce and custody disputes, for example.
That said, this is the least severe formal response and would not directly result in a determination of maltreatment against you. Part of this is because of the criteria — the state usually chooses FAR if your complaint does not involve:
- Sexual abuse
- Substantial child endangerment
- Dangerous situations
How does the Family Assessment Response work?
As you may find in the resource above, FAR focuses on strengthening families. In other words, it attempts to protect children by empowering your family to protect them.
Obviously, this is a forward-looking process, and your family’s future hangs in the balance. The extent to which you cooperate — and the manner in which you cooperate, for that matter — could have a significant role in determining whether the department recommends protective services.
Like many state procedures, FAR is complex, formal and bureaucratic. The outcome depends on many factors. Your solution will probably be unique to your family.